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Report

Innovation policies to boost productivity

The Problem

Productivity growth is flat, government research and development (R&D) spending has fallen, and wage inequality has risen. Meanwhile, the United States and the world face severe and numerous challenges.

The Proposal

John Van Reenen of MIT and the Sloan School of Management proposes an ambitious Grand Innovation Challenge Fund that would increase U.S. spending on R&D.

  • Implement a permanent Grand Innovation Challenge Fund that would direct research towards central concerns such as pandemics, climate change, or other problems where science and technology are crucial.
  • The Fund would be distributed across a portfolio of research-based innovation policies, including R&D grants, tax credits, STEM workforce investments, and policies that would promote innovation among underrepresented.
  • The Fund would increase support for innovation by half a percent of GDP—or about $100 billion a year.

The author did not receive financial support from any firm or person for this article or from any firm or person with a financial or political interest in this article. Neither is currently an officer, director, or board member of any organization with a financial or political interest in this article.

John Van Reenen

Gordon Y. Billard Professor in Management and Economics - Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Research Associate - National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, Massachusetts

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