Who supports Science and Technology Policy?

Sunday, 15 February 2015
Exhibit Hall (San Jose Convention Center)
Hiromi Saito, Chiba university, Chiba, Japan
Background: “3.11 is the day when Japanese Science and Technology defeated.” The great east Japan earthquake killed many people and induced the nuclear accident at Fukushima in 2011. Japan has invested much fund to research for S&T including earthquake disaster research and nuclear research so on. However, these researches could not work on well. After enacting the Basic Law on S&T in 1995, Japanese government has particularly invested much public fund into S&T. However, it is difficult for nation to recognize benefit on S&T policy while it is easy to understand benefit on social security or infrastructure policy and so on. Then, who supports S&T? This research empirically explains who supports S&T policy. This would suppose how S&T policy should be designed based on nation’s minds, for example, whose benefits S&T policy consider or not. Methodology: We performed our survey from the September 25–30, 2011 (6 days). We delegated this survey to an investigation company. Final sample is 2,703 people. We made some inquiries how respondents think about Science and Technology Policy. For example, “Do you support Science and Technology Policy or not?” after we gave some explanation about Science and technology policy. Next, we analyze who supports S&T policy using ordered probit model and OLS. We focus on some individual attributes such as sex, age, income level, knowledge of S&T and residence (stricken region or not) as backgrounds. In addition, we also examine other factor, with or without child, experience of volunteer (as a proxy of altruism), experience of severe sickness, risk avoidance, academic background (as a proxy of science knowledge).  Result: Most variables are significant in estimation model. “Age”, “Income”, “academic background (univ)”, “experience of severe sickness”, “experience of volunteer” are positively significant. “with child(0~10’s)” is negatively significant. Results on academic background (univ) and severe illness suggest that people who have any knowledge or experience close to S&T. Our results showed that older people tend to support the promotion of S&T policy while people with young child tend not to support it. Why? Results on “income” show that the poor does not tend to support to S&T policy. Household with children also have too much money going out. They might focus on more immediate life than future. We also found that people with science knowledge, high income, and altruism tend to support S&T. Conclusion Our results showed that older people tend to support the promotion of S&T policy while people with young child tend not to support it. We assume that the promotion for S&T policy has strong dimensions of investment for the future unlike social security. Our estimation results suggest that we should reexamine this assumption itself. This is related to who receives benefit from the progress of S&T, furthermore, to which generations receive benefit from the progress of S&T. This paper suggests a direction of Science and Technology Policy based on nation’s thoughts.