Pricing and Recoupment Policies for Commercially Useful Technology Resulting from NASA Programs.

by Charles Wolf, Jr., William R. Harris, Robert Klitgaard, J. R. Nelson, John P. Stein, M. Baeza


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How much, and by what methods, should NASA charge users or buyers of the technology by-products of its programs and activities? In addressing this and related questions, the authors evaluate six alternative pricing policies in terms of efficiency criteria and equity or distributional criteria: marginal cost pricing, average cost pricing, monopoly pricing, entry fee pricing, two-part pricing, and price discrimination. Six arguments for and against recoupment policies charging higher than marginal costs are examined through two specific cases: the pricing of launch-vehicles services and three NASA programs aimed at reducing noise from commercial air transports. Finally, a variety of recoupment mechanisms are discussed: copyrights, procurement contracts, user charges, precommercial systems sales, and revenues from foreign spinoffs from NASA technology. Policies of other U.S. government agencies and of several foreign governments are also reviewed. Although no single policy emerges as uniformly preferable, specific suggestions and applications resulting from the study should be of use to decisionmakers in NASA and elsewhere in the government. 166 pp.

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