The Impact of National Research Funds: An Evaluation of the Chilean FONDECYT

Oct 2007
This paper is part of the project: "IDB's Science and Technology Programs: An Evaluation of the Technology Development Funds (TDF) and Competitive Research Grants (CRG)." This paper analyzes the role of National Research Funds in promoting scientific production in emerging economies. The investigation focuses on the impact of the Chilean National Science and Technology Research Fund (FONDECYT). To measure the program's impact, we implement a Regression Discontinuity (RD) design on projects submitted for funding between 1988 and 1995. The results do not show any significant impact either in terms of publications or in terms of quality of publications in the proximity of the program threshold ranking. Although results show that the program has been partially effective in identifying the best projects in terms of expected quality, evidence suggests that the FONDECYT's lack of impact may be due to targeting problems in terms of both researchers and research projects.