In a new paper, Walter D. Valdivia and Benjamin Y. Clark apply punctuated equilibrium theory to examine the last four decades of federal R&D, both at the aggregate and the agency level. Valdivia and Clark observe a general upward trend driven by gradual increases. In turn, budget leaps or punctuations are few and far in between and do no appear to have lasting effects. As the politics of R&D are stirred up, federal departments and agencies are sure to find that proposing punctuations is becoming more costly and risky. Consequently, agencies will be well advised in securing stable growth in their R&D budgets in the long run rather than pushing for short term budget leaps.
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