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Abstract

The Realm of Science claims to be an autonomous entity, governed by its own rules and institutions. In practice it is difficult to test the extent to which different enveloping political systems affect economics of basic research, as too many cultural and historical differences would distort such a comparison. Unique historical circumstances make East and West Germany the best available ground for setting up an experiment with both experimental and control groups within societies and organizations. Testing the influence of socialistic pressure on economic performance of scientific institutions, the analysis of East German Academy of Sciences and West German Max Plank Society is performed. Possessing many public good properties, basic research in natural sciences was supported by the government in both countries and was similar across the borders in its structure, goals and culture. Systematically comparing basic research in two institutions at its four stages of conceptualization, experimentation, evaluation and implementation, this paper seeks to identify significant qualitative influences of researcher, organizational, political and economic structures on the research process. In addition to an American and German literature review, personal interviews with scientists and administrators of several East and West German research institutions are drawn upon in the analysis. Ultimately, the analysis leads to the rejection of the preliminary hypothesis that the research process is independent of influences of surrounding political and economic systems and concludes that Socialistic political system and central-command economy have influenced basic research process directly as well as through organizational structure.

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