Monday, November 4, 2013

The US Government and Technological Innovation

Mariana Mazzucato gives a concise but insightful talk here about the role of the US government in driving technological development and the success of cutting-edge private sector businesses.

Mazzucato goes through numerous sectors – telecommunications, information technology, pharmaceuticals, nanotechnology, and so on – and shows how basic and applied research for many technologies eventually taken over by the private sector is done or funded by government, and in particular the US government.

A larger treatment of the subject can be found in Mazzucato’s The Entrepreneurial State (London, 2011). Without diminishing the importance of Mazzucato’s work, I would say that astute Post Keyensians are well aware of these facts.


  1. She is a Post-Keynesian in her macroeconomics. She's working with the Levy Institute at the moment. That last video you posted of Wray is done by her and her husband.

    Also, Dan Kervick did a nice article on her work.

  2. Basic Research is one thing…

    Picking winners and losers, and the government entering into collaboration with private firms is entirely different. Its essentially neo-mercantilism or corporatism (both of which have various problems- such as soft budgets which encourage waste, and having a source of funding that can never go broke- which also encourages waste) which presumably you agree with and I don't.

    Government should fund research that has a long far distant payoff, which the private sector has little incentive to invest in. But as those technologies ARE created, it makes little sense to continue government support. For example, the U.S. government should not partner with Apple to make iPhones or Google for search.