Congress, Constituency, And Jobs: The Superconducting Super Collider, The Space Station, And National Science Policy
This paper examines the very different decisions that occurred with regards to the International Space Station and the Superconducting Super Collider, two major science and engineering projects which marched across the 1980s only to stumble badly in the early 1990s. The Space Station survived its encounter with congressional politics while the physics project was abruptly cancelled. The argument suggested is that constituency politics within Congress drives decisions especially when resources are scarce as happened in the early 1990s when a spending cap on discretionary spending eliminated congressional ability to fund all programs. The space station program under the leadership of NASA was able to solidify its support nationally by the distribution of contracts and other constituency-related efforts. By contrast, the Collider was perceived as a Texas-dominated project with comparatively little benefit to other areas of the country. The result was that the Space Station survived (by a single vote) its encounter with congressional politics while the Collider was cancelled. Arguments about international linkages, constituency benefits and economic competitiveness were put forth by both programs but the Collider essentially was not persuasive. This program was an early victim of the changing nature of American politics and the increasing reluctance to fund large-scale projects outside selected areas and defense. © 2001 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd.
Technology in Society
Number of Pages
Source API URL
Handberg, R., "Congress, Constituency, And Jobs: The Superconducting Super Collider, The Space Station, And National Science Policy" (2001). Scopus Export 2000s. 227.