Research | Themes
Mariana Mazzucato is Professor in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value at University College London where she is the founding director of the UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP). The research of the institute is focused on rethinking the state, and its interactions with other value creators, so to foster economic growth that is more inclusive and sustainable. IIPP’s key research areas are around Rethinking Value, Transforming Institutions, Shaping Innovation, and Directing Finance. Professor Mazzucato works across all these areas. She is particularly interested in the following questions:
Collective value creation
Value creation is assumed to occur in business and only facilitated by public and other actors. Mazzucato’s work has shown the false assumptions behind this premise. Value is created collectively, including by direct investments of state led institutions. If value is created collectively how can it also be shared collectively?
The key role of the state in driving innovation-led growth, as an investor of first resort. What are the ways to ensure the state gets a fair return for its investment? How can innovation be governed in the public interest?
Financing structural change
Finance is not neutral: the type of finance affects what happens in the real economy. How can we steer finance assuring it is more long-term and guiding structural change that achieves sustainable growth?
Mission oriented policy
While traditional economic theory sees policy as fixing markets, inclusive and sustainable growth require active market creation and shaping not only fixing. What is the role of the direction of innovation in steering growth to fulfil key objectives, such as those underlying the Sustainable Development Goals?
From the public good to the common good
While the public good is traditionally viewed as a correction for something the private sector is not doing, or doing badly, directing growth to achieve goals requires reimagining the common good as an objective not only a correction. How can we apply this bolder notion of the common good to areas like health innovation and innovation in outer space, ensuring that we govern innovation (e.g. patents) so that it produces social benefits?
Purpose driven corporate governance
Global companies have become increasingly driven by short-term returns and maximization of shareholder value. What are the problems associated with financialisation of business, and how can these be addressed? How can “purpose” become central to how business interacts with other economic actors, fostering a more symbiotic and mutualistic eco-system?
Professor Mazzucato publishes regularly in academic journals, as well as policy papers aimed at policymakers worldwide, and early stage research in the form of working papers. She is also the author of the bestselling books ‘The Entrepreneurial State: debunking public vs private sector myths‘ and ‘The Value of Everything: making and taking in the global economy’, and her new book ‘Mission Economy: a moonshot guide to changing capitalism’ is out now. Her news articles and blogs can be found on the Media page.
Professor Mazzucato’s current work is funded by different international grants from national research councils, the European commission, philanthropies and the private sector. Her current (live) projects include the following:
- Digital Rents and Competition Policy
This project is funded by the Omidyar Network and the Rockefeller Foundation. It looks at how modern economic rents are extracted in digital platforms. It seeks to inform innovation and competition policy to foster value creation not value extraction. Read more about Mariana’s work on digital platforms here.
- Shaping markets: the Mission-Oriented Innovation Network
This project is funded by the William And Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation. It brings together global public organisations to look at the challenges and opportunities of stepping outside the box of fixing markets, into the more proactive areas of shaping markets. Read about MOIN here.
- Green Innovation and Sustainable Growth
This project is funded by Climate KIC (European Institute of Technology), The Climate Works Foundation, and the Smart Prosperity Institute. It looks at the sources of finance for green growth, and how policy can be used to help direct private and public investment. Read more about Mariana’s work on green growth here.
- Public Value in Space
This project is currently funded by the European Space Agency (ESA), and builds on work done with NASA in 2016. It seeks to understand how public value can be created in space, directed by ‘mission oriented’ state agencies while fostering innovation in the private sector. Read more about Mariana’s work on the space sector here.
- Growth Dynamics in the European Union
This work is funded by various European Commission, Horizon 2020 projects: Inclusive Futures For Europe BEYOND The Impacts Of Industrie 4.0 And Digital Disruption (BEYOND 4.0); and Growth, Welfare, Innovation, Productivity (GROWINPro).
- Public Value and the Economics of Innovation in the Bio-Pharma sector
This project is funded by the Open Society Foundations. It looks at how finance, innovation and policy interact in the health sector. It focuses specifically on how these relationships can be shaped to deliver innovation in the public interest. Read more about Mariana’s work on health here.
- Finance, Innovation and Growth
This project began as a Seventh Framework European Commission grant (FINNOV 2009-2012) and is now funded by multiple sources, including some of the projects above. It studies the co-evolution of the sources of finance, industry dynamics, and innovation in sectors like computers, renewable energy, space, and health. Read the publications from the FINNOV project.