Selected Readings

A selection of recent noteworthy publications in science, technology, education and innovation policy, and related areas.

bridges vol. 33, April 2012 / Selected Readings

Selected Readings in:


Job Creation and Competitiveness



The Global Innovation Policy Index

Information Technology & Innovation Foundation and Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, 2012


From the Executive Summary: This report provides a structured assessment of policies informing the innovation capacity of 55 countries. Moreover, it highlights the most effective policies countries are using to build their innovation capacity, and describes how countries can learn from one another in deploying the best policies. The 55 countries analyzed in this report include all members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), all European Union (EU) member states, and 19 of the 21 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies, as well as the large developing nations of Argentina, Brazil, India, and South Africa.

Network Failures and Innovation in the New Old Economy

Josh Whitford

Connect Innovation Institute, 2012


From the Abstract: Industrial policy has long been justified only in cases of market failure even as the activities targeted by industrial policy aim primarily to foment innovation, and are thus increasingly governed by decentralized production networks rather than markets or hierarchies. This is a problem. In such industry, network failures are often a more pressing problem. And while there are efforts in the interstices of the decentralized American polity to engage in the sorts of brokerage that best mitigate network failures, many opportunities have been missed due to the pressure to focus on market failures instead. Contra claims that traditional industries cannot be a source of job growth, properly coordinated state action to mitigate network failures can stimulate new innovation and growth among small and mid-sized producers of intermediate goods.

Enough is Enough: Confronting Chinese Innovation Mercantilism

Robert D. Atkinson

Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, 2012


From ITIF Multimedia: America's trade relationship with China has entered into a perilous stage in the last five years. With China's shift to an "indigenous innovation" strategy based on forced IP transfer, standards manipulation, discriminatory regulatory and tax policies, and favoritism towards state-owned enterprises, China is unabashedly seeking to favor Chinese-owned firms in order to dominate practically all sectors, especially the higher value-added, innovation-based sectors. Yet, the Washington consensus response can be summed up in one word: patience. In Enough is Enough: Confronting Chinese Innovation Mercantilism, Rob Atkinson documents this phenomenon and warns of the dangers facing the United States and the global economic system if China continues down this path.

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Job Creation and Competitiveness
Road Map to Renewal

President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, 2012


President Obama's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness report, "Road Map to Renewal," examines the broad factors that influence US prosperity and offers an agenda for sustaining and improving US economic competitiveness in the global age. President Obama created the 27-member panel of leaders from business, labor, and academia to develop ideas on how to accelerate US job growth and improve the nation's long-term economic position. The report makes specific recommendations in five major areas:

- Improving education at all levels to prepare the workforce to participate in the global economy;

- Fostering a climate in which innovation can thrive, including increasing federal support of research and development and innovation, and targeting next-generation challenges, such as education and health care;

- Promoting an "all-in" strategy on energy supply, innovation, and efficiency;

- Revitalizing the manufacturing sector, including a reform of US export controls;

- Instituting "smart" regulatory reforms, such as better aligning US regulations with international regulatory standards; and

- Reforming the tax system to better promote innovation.

The Competitiveness and Innovative Capacity of the United States

Economics & Statistics Administration

US Department of Commerce, 2012


From the Foreword: On January 4, 2011, President Barack Obama signed into law the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 (COMPETES). Section 604 of COMPETES mandates that the Secretary of Commerce complete a study that addresses the economic competitiveness and innovative capacity of the United States. Congress directed that this report address a diverse array of topics and policy options, including: tax policy; the general business climate in the US; regional issues such as the role of state and local governments in higher education; barriers to setting up new firms; trade policy, including export promotion; the effectiveness of federal research and development policy; intellectual property regimes in the US and abroad; the health of the manufacturing sector; and science and technology education.

Engage to Excel: Producing One Million Additional College Graduates with Degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics

President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, 2012


From the Executive Report: The President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) concludes that retaining more STEM majors is the lowest-cost, fastest policy option to provide the STEM professionals that the Nation needs for economic and societal well-being. Among other benefits of this approach, it does not require expanding the number or size of introductory courses, which are already constrained by space and resources at many colleges and universities. In its report, PCAST provides a strategy for achieving increased retention of STEM majors on the scale required – a strategy based in part on the reasons students give for abandoning STEM majors, including uninspiring introductory courses, difficulty with the required math, and an academic culture in STEM fields that is sometimes not welcoming or attuned to members of groups underrepresented in STEM fields – including women and minorities, who today constitute about 70 percent of college students but earn only 45 percent of STEM degrees.

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Manufacturing Policy
A Charter for Revitalizing American Manufacturing

Informational Technology & Innovation Foundation, 2011


From the Executive Summary: The charter succinctly explains why manufacturing is vital to the US economy and articulates the need for a coherent national manufacturing strategy based on the "Four Ts": Technology, Tax, Trade, and Talent. It also lays out policy recommendations for improving access to credit and financing support for American manufacturers. In sum, the charter endorses policies that promote US-based investment, innovation, and production in manufacturing; ensures the United States offers the world's best manufacturing environment in terms of workforce, technology, and infrastructure; and enforces trade partner obligations more vigorously.

Why Does Manufacturing Matter? Which Manufacturing Matters? A Policy Framework

Susan Helper, Timothy Krueger, and Howard Wial

Brookings Institution, 2012


From the Summary: Manufacturing matters to the United States because it provides high-wage jobs, commercial innovation (the nation's largest source), a key to trade deficit reduction, and a disproportionately large contribution to environmental sustainability. The manufacturing industries and firms that make the greatest contribution to these four objectives are also those that have the greatest potential to maintain or expand employment in the United States. Computers and electronics, chemicals (including pharmaceuticals), transportation equipment (including aerospace and motor vehicles and parts), and machinery are especially important.

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