Economics - Innovation - Inclusive Growth - Public Purpose

The Entrepreneurial State

The Entrepreneurial State: debunking public vs. private sector myths is stirring up much-needed debate worldwide about the role of the state in fostering long-run, innovation led economic growth.

A new US edition was published by Public Affairs in 2015, with revisions that include a new introduction in which Professor Mazzucato argues that American politicians need to think big, and have the courage to develop a more confident story about the state's role in the economy, in the run up to the 2016 Presidential elections. You can read the new introduction here.

Her book comprehensively debunks the myth of a lumbering, bureaucratic state versus a dynamic, innovative private sector. In a series of case studies—including IT, biotech and nanotech—Professor Mazzucato shows that the opposite is true: the private sector only finds the courage to invest after an entrepreneurial state has made the high-risk investments. In an intensely researched chapter, she reveals that every technology that makes the iPhone so ‘smart’ was government funded: the Internet, GPS, its touch-screen display and the voice-activated Siri. And in another chapter she argues that the green revolution is today is missing the kind of patient public sector financing, and de-financialized private sector, that got the IT revolution off the ground.

Mazzucato shows that in the history of modern capitalism the State has not only fixed market failures, but has also actively shaped and created markets. This required financing not only basic research but also applied research and early stage financing of companies. In doing so, the State sometimes wins and sometimes fails - as in the twin tales of Tesla and Solyndra. The US Government funded both: Solyndra went bust – and became the latest stick to beat the Government with for its attempt to ‘pick winners’ - while Tesla was successful. But where was the public’s reward for making that early investment? Does the tax system still work to bring back this social return? In fact the risks were socialised while the rewards were privatised. The book considers how to change this dysfunctional dynamic so that economic growth can be not only ‘smart’ but also ‘inclusive’. It is a conversation the US desperately needs to have.

In 2014 Professor Mazzucato was awarded the New Statesman SPERI Prize in Political Economy for her work on smart growth and the entrepreneurial state. She has recently worked on a report for NASA on public / private partnerships in the low-earth orbit economy. The Entrepreneurial State featured on the 2013 books of the year lists of the Financial Times and Forbes. It has been translated into Italian, German, Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, Greek and Polish, and is forthcoming in Chinese, Japanese and Korean.

'One of the most incisive economic books in years' - Jeff Madrick, New York Review of Books

Read the introduction - Buy the book

  • The book shows how publicly funded technology makes the iPhone smart

FOUR THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE ENTREPRENEURIAL STATE (IN 60 SECONDS)

Featured US Media

Government Investment and “Opportunity for All”

Government Investment and “Opportunity for All”

“The vitally important but overlooked fact is that Apple was “surfing,” as Mazzucato puts it, on a wave of government-funded and government-led research and development.” William Berkson

Tech’s Enduring Great-Man Myth

Tech’s Enduring Great-Man Myth

“As Mazzucato puts it, ‘It’s precisely because we admire Musk and think his contributions are important that we need to get real about where his success actually comes from’.” Amanda Schaffer

Angel Investing, Government-Style

Angel Investing, Government-Style

“Should the government be an angel investor? Mariana Mazzucato thinks so… [she] argues that government funding is essential to the research and development that creates the companies of tomorrow.” Noah Smith

The Innovative State

The Innovative State

“Governments should make markets, not just fix them” Mariana Mazzucato

A New Golden Age Part II: The Path to Prosperity

A New Golden Age Part II: The Path to Prosperity

“Mariana Mazzucato makes a very convincing argument… from the iPhone to solar power to nanotechnology to pharmaceuticals, government did much of the basic research before venture capitalists stepped in and took the profit” Tom Streithorst

The Artful Dodgers

The Artful Dodgers

“As the academic Mariana Mazzucato argues in her excellent book The Entrepreneurial State, many of the most lauded corporate innovations […] came out of state-funded research.”

Thank the Government for Innovative Technology

Thank the Government for Innovative Technology

“The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Public vs. Private Sector Myths… is a meticulously argued treatise that shows how unwise our conventional wisdom has become.” Christopher Dickey

Richer and Poorer: Accounting for inequality

Richer and Poorer: Accounting for inequality

by Jill Lepore, The New Yorker “The iPhone exists, as Mariana Mazzucato demonstrated in her 2013 book “The Entrepreneurial State,” because various branches of the U.S. government provided research assistance that resulted in several key technological developments, including

Markets, States, and the Green Transition

Markets, States, and the Green Transition

“Mariana Mazzucato has drawn attention to this public sector role by titling her recent book The Entrepreneurial State. She shows that without the state taking a significant part of the risk, there would be much slower rates of technological innovation around the world.” Fred Block

The Most Dangerous Word in Tech

The Most Dangerous Word in Tech

by Quentin Hardy, The New York Times

“Her recent book, The Entrepreneurial State , is about contributions the government has made to innovations Silicon Valley claims as its own.”

Policy Impact

Interviews

US Talks

ITIF

Washington DC – Keynote: The Innovative State: Governments Should Make Markets, Not Just Fix Them, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), with discussants including Sid Winter (Deloitte and Touche Professor Emeritus of Management, The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania).

ARPA-E

Washington DC – Keynote: The Entrepreneurial State, the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E).

The Atlantic Council

Washington DC – Keynote: The Entrepreneurial State, The Atlantic Council, with introductory remarks by Thomas A. Kalil (Deputy Director for Technology and Innovation, Office of Science and Technology Policy, White House).