The Government as an Entrepreneur

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In fact, while often considered “inefficient,” the state is among the shrewdest investors in innovation—and deserves its fair share of the rewards

Who should get the fruits of innovation? Today, the gains are hoarded by corporations like Apple or Tesla. But University College London professor and INET grantee Mariana Mazzucato has a different answer: The state should reap the returns that its massive investment in innovation has generated.

Mazzucato argues that the state, often dubbed “lender of last resort,” should instead take an unabashed role as “investor of first resort”—acting as a proactive investor in major innovations, and getting returns on that investment. That’s because governments are capable of the patient, long-term, strategic approach to finance that’s essential for innovation. In taking a “mission-oriented” approach, the public sector should work with the private sector and civil society to build a portfolio of innovation projects that better meet the challenges of our times.

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