Early RAND was exceptional in nurturing young talent for the purpose of serving military-related objectives, but this doesn’t prove the benefits to society exceeded the costs. In the case of RAND, the costs include the distortionary effects its work had on academic disciplines, and the opportunity cost of diverting human and physical capital away from other, possibly more productive endeavors.

Christopher J. Coyne is a Senior Fellow at the Independent Institute, Professor of Economics at George Mason University, and Co-Editor of The Independent Review. He is the author of the new book, In Search of Monsters to Destroy: The Folly of American Empire and the Paths to Peace.
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Brittany L. Bills is a graduate student in the Department of Economics at George Mason University.
Defense and Foreign PolicyDefense BudgetEconomyFree Market EconomicsPrivatizationRegulationScience and Public Policy
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