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Policy Briefs, Op-eds, and Reports

This page contains shorter editorial, commentary, and policy-centered writings that focus on the role of government in the economy, and particularly concerning its role in fostering innovation and economic dynamism.


August 2013: A Much Maligned Engine of Innovation (Financial Times)

Financial Times columnist Martin Wolf's review of Marianna Mazzucato's book, The Entrepreneurial State, concludes that "the failure to recognise the role of the government in driving innovation may well be the greatest threat to rising prosperity."


July 2013. How America can Build an Innovative New Energy System (Scholars Strategy Network)

Richard A. Lester and David M. Hart discuss how government can help foster a decentralized, regionalized, innovative U.S. energy system by realigning incentives, targeting resources, and restructuring government-industry and intra-governmental relations.


December 2012: A Strategy to Build Advanced Manufacturing Networks in the United States (Scholars Strategy Network)

In this extended policy brief, Fred Block, Matthew R. Keller, Andrew Schrank and Josh Whitford suggest the key role of building advanced manufacturing networks as a way of bolstering U.S. economic growth and technological dynamism.


September 2012: Eroding our Foundation: Sequestration, R&D, Innovation and Economic Growth (ITIF)

In this report for the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, Robert Atkinson and Justin Hicks discuss the key role of the federal government in the U.S. innovation economy, and project the consequences of sequestration cuts on U.S. innovation and economic growth.


April 2012: The Vital Role of Government in U.S. Economic Innovation (Scholars Strategy Network)

In this brief, Fred Block and Matthew R. Keller discuss the central - albeit often-hidden - role played by the U.S. Government in spurring cutting-edge innovations.


March 2012: Energy Innovation at the Department of Defence: Assessing the Opportunities. (CSPO/CATF)

This report by the Center for Science, Policy, and Outcomes, and the Clean Air Task Force assesses opportunities and limits of deploying the DOD's substantial research and procurement powers to support green innovation.


March 2012: U.S. Government Role in Shale Gas Fracking History (Breakthrough Institute) 

The Federal role in technology development often occurs in unexpected places; even shale fracking technologies have their roots in Federal Government programs. While the technology remains controversial, its origins nevertheless reinforce the centrality of government research to private-sector innovations - and profits.


January 2012 Who's Afraid of Industrial Policy? (

Michael Lind describes the U.S. Government's long involvement in industrial policy.


September 2011: Nine Government Investments that Made us an Industrial Economic Leader (

William Lazonick describes the key role of government support for a range of innovative industries.


December 2010: Where Good Technologies Come From: Case Studies in American Innovation (Breakthrough Institute)

This report compiles case studies of a wide range of technological breakthroughs nurtured by U.S. government programs. 


July 2008: Where do Innovations Come From? (ITIF)

Fred Block and Matthew Keller's report analyzes patterns in three decades of award-winning innovations, showing how government has become increasingly central to technology development.

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