Professor Mariana Mazzucato

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Professor, Economics of Innovation

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Mariana focuses on connections between growth, industrial economics, finance and innovation. In her book The Entrepreneurial State, she argues that it’s often public sector funding that enables new sectors to emerge - from the internet to clean technologies. Mariana also explains three attributes of innovation: it’s collective (involving several agents), uncertain in outcome (there’s no probability distribution to help) and cumulative (building tomorrow’s innovation).


Professor Mariana Mazzucato is an economist and is the Director of the Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose at UCL. She has also held positions in the US and Italy and advises policy makers around the world on innovation-led, ‘smart’ growth. She is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Council on the Economics of Innovation, a member of the Scottish Government’s Council of Economic Advisors and a permanent member of the EC’s group on Innovation for Growth (RISE).

Mariana's work looks at the relationship between financial markets, innovation and economic growth: how different types of finance produce different kinds of innovation, at both organisational and international level. Her research finds that, across the globe, it is often the public sector that’s most willing to fund high risk capital-intensive innovations, from the internet to clean technology. Whether DARPA and ARPA-E in the USA, or the Chinese Development Bank or BNDES in Brazil, public sector funding has done much more than 'fix' market failures; it has provided the courageous mission-oriented investment that allows new technologies and sectors to emerge.

Mariana’s book, The Entrepreneurial State: debunking public vs. private sector myths, argues against the conventional wisdom that private entrepreneurship is the solution to problems concerning growth. It focuses on the need to develop new frameworks to understand the role of the state within economic growth, and how to ensure that rewards from investment are shared, along with the risks.

Mariana is the winner of the New Statesman SPERI Prize in Political Economy, and is one of the New Republic’s Three Most Important Thinkers on Innovation. She also appears regularly in the broadcast and print media commenting on the interplay of state, regulators, business and society in the economic system.

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