Economics - Innovation - Inclusive Growth

working papers

Lost in space? NASA and the changing public private eco-system in space

Lost in space? NASA and the changing public private eco-system in space

Mazzucato, M., Robinson, D., SPRU Working Paper Series SWPS 2016-20
“U.S. public activities in space directed via NASA are undergoing change. While NASA has historically been able to drive market creation, through its procurement policy (which is much weaker in Europe), the past decade has seen a visible shift in US space policy, away from NASA-directed developments in low-Earth orbit (LEO) towards an ecosystem with a mix of private, not-for-profit, and public actors in LEO. This has fundamentally changed NASA‘s role from an orchestrating/directing role, to a more ‘facilitating’ one driven by commercialization needs. This shift in mission and approach has ramifications for the LEO ecosystem as well as NASA’s innovation policy, which has previously centred on clearly defined “mission-oriented” objectives, such as putting a man on the moon or creating the shuttle fleet. Such objectives required ‘active’ innovation policy whereby NASA both funded and ‘directed’ the innovation, within its walls and with its partners. The emerging multi-actor ecosystem approach has involved a more open-ended objective that does not have a unified nor clearly defined end-game. In this situation, NASA’s ability to shape activities in a direction in line with its mission will depend on its relationships with other members in the system. The rise of new actors in the space eco-system, and new relationships between them, presents interesting challenges for innovation policy informed by an Innovation System approach. In this paper, we critique the market failure approach of public intervention in markets and describe further work to be done in the innovation systems literature – more focus on the interactions between agents (and the type of agents) as complimentary to the dominant focus on funding programmes in innovation systems. In this paper, we present the evolving processes of NASA’s engagement in building a low-earth orbit economy to draw out case specific insights into a public agency shifting its mission to incorporate approaches to facilitate the market creation policy. The paper focuses on the way that NASA structures its new innovation policy, away from a classical supply side oriented R&D investment through NASA itself, towards a policy of orchestration and combination of instruments rather. We close the paper with a reflection on the ramifications of NASA’s approach to building a sustainable low-Earth orbit economic ecosystem.”

Financing Renewable Energy: Who is Financing What and Why it Matters

Financing Renewable Energy: Who is Financing What and Why it Matters

Mazzucato, M.,Semieniuk, G., SPRU Working Paper Series SWPS 2016-12
“Accelerating innovation in renewable energy (RE) requires not just more finance, but finance servicing the entire innovation landscape. Given that finance is not ‘neutral’, more information is required on the quality of finance that meets technology and innovation stage-specific financing needs for the commercialization of RE technologies. We inves- tigate the relationship between different financial actors with investment in different RE technologies. We construct a new deal-level dataset of global RE asset finance from 2004 to 2014 based on Bloomberg New Energy Finance data, that distinguishes 10 investor types (e.g. private banks, public banks, utilities) and 11 RE technologies into which they invest. We also construct a heuristic investment risk measure that varies with technology, time and country of investment. We find that particular investor types have preferences for par- ticular risk levels, and hence particular types of RE. Some investor types invested into far riskier portfolios than others, and financing of individual high-risk technologies depended on investment by specific investor types. After the 2008 financial crisis, state-owned or controlled companies and banks emerged as the high-risk taking locomotives of RE asset finance. We use these preliminary results to formulate new questions for future RE policy, and encourage further research.”

The Green Entrepreneurial State

The Green Entrepreneurial State

Mazzucato, M., SPRU Working Paper Series 2015 (28)

“The paper considers the direct, strategic investments that have been made by international public institutions creating and shaping (not only fixing) green technology. It builds on the key themes found in the The Entrepreneurial State: debunking public vs. private sector myths.”

The Rise of Mission-Oriented State Investment Banks: the case of Brazil’s BNDES and Germany’s KfW

The Rise of Mission-Oriented State Investment Banks: the case of Brazil’s BNDES and Germany’s KfW

Mazzucato, M., Penna, C., SPRU Working Paper Series SWPS 2015-26

“This paper focuses on the rise of state investment banks (SIBs) as lead funders of mission-oriented innovation in various countries’ agendas regarding smart (innovation-led) growth, and not just fixers of ‘market failures’. The market failure justification for public finance fails to capture the active mission-oriented role that such banks are playing in shaping and creating markets, rather than just fixing them. In tackling innovation priorities and shaping new markets, these banks are developing new financial tools that also help to reform the financial system from within, addressing issues of short-termism and financialisation. This paper documents and analyses the roles of such banks, building on the Neo-Schumpeterian work on mission-oriented policies (that is, policies that aim to address societal issues or challenges). The paper presents a rich analytical description of mission-oriented investments in two of the leading SIBs: Brazil’s BNDES and Germany’s KfW. We discuss the directionality of the investments, the various tools used, and the lessons to be learned for evaluating these tools outside of a market failure framework.”

Financing the Capital Development of the Economy: A Keynes-Schumpeter-Minsky Synthesis

Financing the Capital Development of the Economy: A Keynes-Schumpeter-Minsky Synthesis

Mazzucato, M., Wray, R., Levy Economics Institute, Working Paper No. 837
“This paper discusses the role that finance plays in promoting the capital development of the economy, with particular emphasis on the current situation of the United States and the United Kingdom. We define both “finance” and “capital development” very broadly. We begin with the observation that the financial system evolved over the postwar period, from one in which closely regulated and chartered commercial banks were dominant to one in which financial markets dominate the system. Over this period, the financial system grew rapidly relative to the nonfinancial sector, rising from about 10 percent of value added and a 10 percent share of corporate profits to 20 percent of value added and 40 percent of corporate profits in the United States. To a large degree, this was because finance, instead of financing the capital development of the economy, was financing itself. At the same time, the capital development of the economy suffered perceptibly. If we apply a broad definition—to include technological advances, rising labor productivity, public and private infrastructure, innovations, and the advance of human knowledge—the rate of growth of capacity has slowed.The past quarter century witnessed the greatest explosion of financial innovation the world had ever seen. Financial fragility grew until the economy collapsed into the global financial crisis. At the same time, we saw that much (or even most) of the financial innovation was directed outside the sphere of production—to complex financial instruments related to securitized mortgages, to commodities futures, and to a range of other financial derivatives. Unlike J. A. Schumpeter, Hyman Minsky did not see the banker merely as the ephor of capitalism, but as its key source of instability. Furthermore, due to “financialisation of the real economy,” the picture is not simply one of runaway finance and an investment-starved real economy, but one where the real economy itself has retreated from funding investment opportunities and is instead either hoarding cash or using corporate profits for speculative investments such as share buybacks. As we will argue, financialization is rooted in predation; in Matt Taibbi’s famous phrase, Wall Street behaves like a giant, blood-sucking “vampire squid.” In this paper we will investigate financial reforms as well as other government policy that is necessary to promote the capital development of the economy, paying particular attention to increasing funding of the innovation process. For that reason, we will look not only to Minsky’s ideas on the financial system, but also to Schumpeter’s views on financing innovation.”

Building the Entrepreneurial State: a new framework for envisioning and evaluating a mission-oriented public sector

Building the Entrepreneurial State: a new framework for envisioning and evaluating a mission-oriented public sector

Mazzucato M., Levy Economics Institute, Working Paper No. 824

“Today, countries around the world are seeking “smart” innovation-led growth, and hoping that this growth is also more “inclusive” and “sustainable” than in the past. This paper argues that such a feat requires rethinking the role of government and public policy in the economy—not only funding the “rate” of innovation, but also envisioning its “direction.” It requires a new justification of government intervention that goes beyond the usual one of “fixing market failures.” It also requires the shaping and creating of markets. And to render such growth more “inclusive,” it requires attention to the ensuing distribution of “risks and rewards.” To approach the innovation challenge of the future, we must redirect the discussion, away from the worry about “picking winners” and “crowding out” toward four key questions for the future:

1. Directions: how can public policy be understood in terms of setting the direction and route of change; that is, shaping and creating markets rather than just fixing them? What can be learned from the ways in which directions were set in the past, and how can we stimulate more democratic debate about such directionality?
2. Evaluation: how can an alternative conceptualization of the role of the public sector in the economy (alternative to MFT) translate into new indicators and assessment tools for evaluating public policies beyond the microeconomic cost/benefit analysis? How does this alter the crowding in/out narrative?
3. Organizational change: how should public organizations be structured so they accommodate the risk-taking and explorative capacity, and the capabilities needed to envision and manage contemporary challenges?
4. Risks and Rewards: how can this alternative conceptualization be implemented so that it frames investment tools so that they not only socialize risk, but also have the potential to socialize the rewards that enable “smart growth” to also be “inclusive growth”?”

Beyond Market Failures. The Market Creating And Shaping Roles Of State Investment Banks

Beyond Market Failures. The Market Creating And Shaping Roles Of State Investment Banks

SPRU Working Paper Series 2014 (21)
“Recent decades witnessed a trend whereby private markets retreated from financing the real economy, whilst simultaneously the real economy itself became increasingly financialized. This trend resulted in public finance becoming more important for capital investments. Within this context, the paper focuses on the roles played by a particular source of public finance: state investment banks (SIBs). It develops a conceptual typology of the different roles that SIBs play in the economy which together show the market creation/shaping process of SIBs, rather than their mere ‘market fixing’ roles. The paper discusses four types of investments, both theoretically and empirically: countercyclical; developmental; venture capitalist role; and challenge-led. To develop the typology, we first discuss how standard market failure theory (MFT) justifies the roles of SIBs, the diagnostics and evaluation toolbox associated with it, and resulting criticisms centred on notions of ‘government failures’. We then show the limitations of this approach based on insights from Keynes, Schumpeter, Minsky and Polanyi, and other authors from the evolutionary economics tradition, which help us move towards a framework for public investments that is more about market creating/shaping rather than market fixing. As frameworks lead to evaluation tools, we use this new lens to both analyse the increasingly targeted investments that SIBs are making, and to provide a new light on the usual criticisms that are made about such directed activity (e.g. crowding out and picking winners).”

Innovation As Growth Policy: The Challenge For Europe

Innovation As Growth Policy: The Challenge For Europe

Mazzucato M. , Perez C. , SPRU Working Paper Series 2014 (13)
“The advanced world is facing a crucial moment of transition. We argue that a successful outcome requires bringing innovation to the centre of government thinking and action and that, in order to do this, we must apply our knowledge of how innovation occurs and how to repair what has gone wrong. We look first at the role that innovation has always played as the driver of economic growth, and at its relationship with finance. Arguing that the challenge today is not to ‘fix’ finance while leaving the economy sick, but rather to change the way that the real economy works, we then identify the solution: a policy direction that is smart, inclusive and takes advantage of ‘green’ as the next big technological and market opportunity. We then explain why the role of the State is key to ensuring that such opportunities are taken, and the importance of direct public investment for promoting the creation of public goods and courageous risk-taking in research and innovation in both the public and private sectors. Paying particular attention to Europe, we then examine the potential of such innovation-oriented policies to promote inclusive growth. We consider concrete steps that could be taken, both at the national and EU levels, to create the ‘smart governance’ necessary to implement such a direction. The chapter closes with suggestions for policies that aim to construct collective competitiveness across the European Union”.

IKD Working Paper No. 33

IKD Working Paper No. 33

Mazzucato, M. and Demirel, P. “Does Market Selection Reward Innovators? R&D, patents, and growth in the US Pharmaceutical Industry”, IKD Working Paper No. 33