The Effects of Military and Other Government Spending on the Computer Industry

The Early Years

by Susan W. Schechter


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Focusing on the early years of computer development (late 1940s to mid-1950s), this paper analyzes the role that government, especially the Department of Defense, played as a sponsor of university and corporate computer research-and-development efforts. The study examines the position of dominance the United States held in the computer industry by the late 1950s and retains today, attempting to analyze how much of this is due to early government support. The author suggests that, while U.S. dominance in the international computer market has eroded, it is not likely to lose that dominance in the near future.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

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