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What are some of the key ideas of Marianna Mazzucato?

A-Level, IB
AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB, Eduqas, WJEC

Last updated 16 Jul 2023

Marianna Mazzucato, an Italian-American economist, has made significant contributions to the field of innovation economics and the role of the state in fostering economic growth.

Here are some of her key ideas:

  1. Mission-Oriented Innovation: Mazzucato advocates for a mission-oriented approach to innovation policy. She argues that governments should set bold and ambitious goals, or "missions," that address societal challenges, such as climate change or healthcare access. By focusing on missions, Mazzucato argues that innovation can be directed towards solving pressing societal problems and generating public value.
  2. Entrepreneurial State: Mazzucato challenges the notion that the state is merely a passive facilitator of innovation. She argues that the state has played a vital role in driving transformative technological advancements through its support of research and development, long-term investment, and risk-taking. Mazzucato emphasizes the importance of public investment and active government involvement in fostering innovation and shaping markets.
  3. Value Creation and Capture: Mazzucato explores the relationship between value creation and value capture in the economy. She argues that the current economic system often allows private actors to capture a disproportionate share of value generated from innovation, while the risks and investments associated with innovation are socialized. Mazzucato advocates for a more equitable distribution of value and greater recognition of the public contributions to innovation.
  4. Rethinking Industrial Policy: Mazzucato challenges the negative connotations associated with industrial policy. She argues that effective industrial policy can play a critical role in shaping and guiding economic development. Mazzucato advocates for a strategic approach to industrial policy that focuses on fostering innovation, promoting inclusive growth, and addressing societal needs.
  5. Financialization and Innovation: Mazzucato has examined the relationship between financialization and innovation. She highlights the risks associated with short-term financial interests dominating the allocation of resources, which can hinder long-term investment in research and innovation. Mazzucato calls for financial reforms that align the interests of the financial sector with productive and sustainable investments.

Mazzucato's ideas have had a significant impact on the understanding of innovation, entrepreneurship, and the role of the state in the economy. Her work has influenced discussions on innovation policy, industrial strategy, and the need for a more inclusive and sustainable form of capitalism that recognizes and rewards the contributions of public investments in innovation.

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