Economics - Innovation - Inclusive Growth

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 is currently working on a report for NASA on public / private partnerships in the low-earth orbit economy. Her book featured on the 2013 books of the year lists of the Financial Times and Forbes. It is being translated into 9 languages including Italian, German, Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch and Greek.

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

Read the introduction - Buy the book

Interview with CNN GPS with Fareed Zakaria on The US Entrepreneurial State, January 4, 2016

Professor Mazzucato testifies at a US Senate Forum of the Middle Class Prosperity Project, July 27, 2015

Professor Mazzucato's TED Global 2013 presentation in Edinburgh: Government - investor, risk-taker, innovator.

The Entrepreneurial State is discussed at a hearing of the US Senate Appropriations Committee, May 2014

  • 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

Why Hillary Clinton Is Right About Pfizer

Why Hillary Clinton Is Right About Pfizer

“Every major technological change in recent years traces most of its funding back to the state,” says Mazzucato, who backs the claim up with powerful statistics and anecdotes in her book. Rana Foroohar

Government R&D, private profits and the American taxpayer

Government R&D, private profits and the American taxpayer

“Professor Mazzucato’s proposal is worth pondering… Taxpayers have a large, unacknowledged role in … innovation. They deserve some credit. And perhaps more, if that’s what it takes to power innovation’s future.” Eduardo Porter

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, many of the most lauded corporate innovations, including the parts of smartphones that make them smart… came out of state-funded research.” Rana Foroohar

Thank the Government for Innovative Technology

Thank the Government for Innovative Technology

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

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

Richer and Poorer: Accounting for inequality

Richer and Poorer: Accounting for inequality

“The iPhone exists – as Mariana Mazzucato demonstrated in her book – because various branches of the U.S. government provided research assistance that resulted in several key technological developments…” Jill Lepore

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

“Increasingly, however, economists and social thinkers are challenging the conventional wisdom on innovation… Mariana Mazzucato described the most notable technology innovations as coming from the government, not the private sector.” Quentin Hardy

INTERVIEWS

CNN gps - January 4, 2016

CNN Money - October 24, 2013

Financial Times - September 6, 2013

World Economic Forum - June 25, 2014

Recent US talks

The Atlantic Council - 27 February 2014

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).


ITIF - 31 March 2015

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 - 24 March 2014

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