The Government's Role in Spurring Innovation


Publication: 2012-12-03


This excerpt describes what the authors believe is the government's role in carrying out innovative research and creating policies that encourage private-sector innovation.

While lack of resources is not always the problem, sometimes money matters. Cases in point are the numerous federal agencies that play a key role in innovation but that are woefully underfunded... Without government help to catalyze deployment of [the six] platforms [identified below], we will not see the progress that is possible. In fact, as noted previously, a key reason why some nations are ahead of us in deploying these platforms is that foreign governments have engaged in smart partnerships to help the private sector build the platforms, in part by using a combination of tax incentives [and] smart, but limited, regulations that drive change and having the government act as a lead purchaser. The U.S. federal government should do the same.


Name:Owen Ambur


Name:Innovation Economics: The Race for Global Advantage


"Innovation Economics: The Race for Global Advantage," published in September by Yale University Press, explores the conditions that have caused the United States to fall behind other countries in the competition for the innovation advantage.


  • Robert D. AtkinsonAuthor -- President, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation

  • Stephen J. EzellAuthor -- Senior Analyst, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation

  • Yale University Press

  • United States

  • U.S. Patent and Trademark OfficeThe U.S. Patent and Trademark Office used to be the envy of other nations for its effectiveness and efficiency. But today a backlog of more than 700,000 patent applications at the USPTO means that most applicants will wait at least three years for a decision.

  • Food and Drug AdministrationLikewise, there have been increased delays at the Food and Drug Administration for drug and device approval and difficulties in upgrading the scientific expertise needed to expeditiously and effectively evaluate new drugs and biological submissions.

  • U.S. Trade Representative's OfficeThe U.S. Trade Representative's Office brings relatively few cases before the World Trade Organization to challenge the mercantilist practices of other nations.

  • U.S. Statistical SystemAnd the U.S. statistical system needs to do a better job of providing the kinds of data that would help policy-makers understand the true condition of the U.S. innovation system.