The IPL newsletter: Volume 18, Issue 375

News from the IPL


Input Sought for Plan for Advanced Manufacturing

SSTI Weekly Digest
The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is seeking input from all interested parties on the development of a national strategic plan for advanced manufacturing. OSTP wants to hear ideas on ways to improve government coordination and on long-term guidance for federal programs and activities in support of U.S. manufacturing competitiveness, including advanced manufacturing research and development that will create jobs, grow the economy across multiple industrial sectors, strengthen national security, and improve healthcare. The National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) is soliciting recommendations from a wide range of stakeholders, including representatives from diverse manufacturing companies, academia, and other relevant organizations and institutions.

Digital Governance Exchange Launches for State Government Leaders

To help state and local governments leverage digital technologies to improve services and operations, ITIF has launched a government Digital Transformation Exchange with Government TechnologyGoverning, and 11 states and localities. The first-in-the-nation partnership uses an online portal powered by ProudCity to facilitate collaboration and sharing of best practices for initiatives on issues such as health and safety, security, data, and mobility.

Editor's Pick

Collaborating for Investment Attraction in the Toronto Region

Innovation Policy Lab and Toronto Global
This research paper provides both quantitative and qualitative analysis of the economic impact of FDI into the Toronto Region, providing data-driven support for this rationale. It also contributes to knowledge of how the regional economy operates, as well as an understanding of how both foreign and domestic firms weigh location decisions. These insights highlight how firms at home and abroad view the Toronto Region’s strategic assets, which strengthens Toronto Global’s ability to describe the region’s value proposition to potential investors.

Innovation Policy

Growing the Future: State Efforts to Advance the Life Sciences

Joe Kennedy, ITIF
Life-sciences companies—especially pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical-device companies—have been steadily increasing their U.S. economic output and employment in high-skilled, high-wage jobs. But not all states are equally well positioned to grow and attract these companies. That’s because while life-sciences companies have significant flexibility to conduct their research, clinical trials, and production anywhere in the world, they grow best in locations that can combine qualities like a good business environment, skilled workers, strong research universities, and available capital. Strengthening these and related factors can give states a stronger competitive advantage. At least 27 states have specific life-sciences-focused economic development efforts. This report examines how five—Colorado, Indiana, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Washington—are working to create environments that support the growth of their life-sciences sectors.

Is Tech Dividing America?

Nancy Scola, Politico
When Americans consider how technology has changed their lives, they tend to focus on how the internet and smartphones have altered how they watch TV, connect with friends, or how they shop. But those changes pale in comparison to how technology has already restructured the economy, shaking up the workforce and shifting opportunity to tech-centric urban hubs. As artificial intelligence quickly moves from fiction to daily reality, that revolution will arguably become much more consequential. Economists broadly agree that technology will continue to be an engine of economic growth. But it also will upend old certainties about who benefits. Already, we can see a growing inequality gap, with winners and losers by region and workplace. The next wave of changes, handled badly, could make this gap even more extreme. In this article, Nancy Scola interviews MIT researcher and author David Autor who has a newly keen interest in figuring out how the technologies being pumped in to the labor market would shape what it means to be a worker in the United States.

Blockchain Technology Overview

Blockchains are immutable digital ledger systems implemented in a distributed fashion (i.e., without a central repository) and usually without a central authority. At its most basic level, they enable a community of users to record transactions in a ledger public to that community such that no transaction can be changed once published. This document provides a high-level technical overview of blockchain technology. It discusses its application to electronic currency in depth, but also shows its broader applications. The purpose is to help readers understand how blockchains work, so that they can be appropriately and usefully applied to technology problems. Additionally, this document explores some specific blockchain applications and some examples of when a blockchain system should be considered for use.

Clusters & Regions

An Urban Revival: How Land Use Tools and Real Estate Strategies are Fueling the Resurgence of Light Manufacturing in Greater Boston

Urban Manufacturing Alliance
The composition of manufacturing firms has changed radically over time. The United States is moving from a manufacturing sector dominated by mass producers with hundreds of employees, to one characterized by masses of small and medium-sized firms. Many of these firms have honed high value-added production processes that leverage industrial design and product customization to gain a competitive edge. The size of these firms can be quite small, manufacturing firms with 10 or fewer employees make up nearly 60 percent of the nation’s manufacturing economy. Cities and towns are now turning to land use policy to create a greater array of spaces in urban areas for small, low-impact manufacturers. This is a notable shift, as manufacturers have historically been pushed to the outskirts of cities for fear that they would be disruptive to local communities. Today, we are seeing the opposite trend, with manufacturers locating in downtowns and mixed-use neighborhoods. Because these firms depend on thriving neighborhoods that include universities, local customers, suppliers, and other small manufacturing firms, city environments can be catalysts for their growth. Mayors and municipal managers recognize that manufacturers are an important part of a healthy, equitable local economy, because many of the positions in this sector offer opportunities to workers with less experience, education, and—in some cases—English proficiency. This report looks at examples from the Greater Boston area to derive broader lessons.

Statistics & Indicators

High Growth Firms and Cities in the U.S.: An Analysis of the Inc. 5000

Ian Hathaway, Brookings
Each year, Inc. Magazine publishes its list of the fastest-growing businesses in America — the Inc. 5000. To qualify, companies must be independent, privately-owned, domiciled in the United States, and meet certain revenue thresholds. Of qualifying companies, those with the fastest three-year revenue growth rates are selected. Inc. 5000 firms exhibit very high growth compared with their peers, which makes them vital to the economy. For example, the companies analyzed here increased revenue by 43 percent each year at the median and employment by 35 percent at the median. By comparison, the median business for the whole economy expands revenue by about three percent each year and doesn’t increase employment at all. In view of that, this article analyzes the Inc. 5000 data for the years 2011 to 2017, with a focus on those companies meeting the standard definition of high-growth established by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The industry representation of these companies, their geographic distribution across the U.S., and factors explaining regional variation of Inc. 5000 high-growth firm “density” are explored.

Causal Relations Between Knowledge-Intensive Business Services and Regional Employment Growth

Thomas Brenner et al., Regional Studies
This paper studies the causal relations between regional employment growth in knowledge-intensive business services (KIBS) and overall regional employment growth using German labour-market data for 1999–2012. Adopting a recently developed technique, it uses a structural vector autoregressive model in which the causal directions between KIBS and other sectors are examined including various time lags. Results show that although regional growth has a negative short-term effect on KIBS, KIBS growth has a long-term positive effect on the whole regional economy. This confirms the claim that KIBS can play a key role in regional policies.


The 12th Workshop on the Organization, Economics, and Policy of Scientific Research

Bath, UK, 27-28 April, 2018
As in previous years the aim of the workshop is to bring together a small group of scholars interested in the analysis of the production and diffusion of scientific research from an economics, historical, organizational, and policy perspective. We aim to attract contributions from both junior and senior scholars; a minimum number of slots are reserved for junior researchers (PhD students or postdoc scholars who obtained their PhD in 2015 or later).

Triple Helix XVI Manchester

Manchester, UK, 5-8 September, 2018
Across the world, states and city regions are facing huge societal, economic, environmental, and political challenges whose solutions require concerted new efforts and innovative partnerships. The 2018 International Triple Helix Conference brings together academia, government, business, and community to share effective practices and to advance the frontiers of knowledge about collaboration for economic progress, social development and sustainability, and the role of cities and regions as enabling spaces for these interactions.

A World of Flows – Labour Mobility, Capital, and Knowledge in an Age of Global Reversal and Revival

Lugano, Switzerland, 3-6 June, 2018
The 2018 RSA Annual Conference aims to address processes of global reversal and regional revival, in a world dominated by flows of capital, labor, and knowledge. Further it seeks to understand the political, economic and social factors that initiate change and how these changes are finding new expressions as the world’s political and economic system continues to struggle with low rates of global economic growth, the rise of China as an economic super power, the on-going impacts of recession and austerity, and increasing levels of inequality. To study and debate these and many other questions, we warmly invite the regional studies/science and connected communities to join us.

TCI 2018 – Unexpected Connections: Collaborating to Compete – Clusters in Action

Toronto, 16-18 October, 2018
Cluster success is often the result of collaboration, more than just the agglomeration of anchor firms, R&D labs, incubators and accelerators, and disrupting organizations. Regions with clusters that actively collaborate within and between one another are more competitive. As firms continue to face new challenges from technological, economic, and political shifts, clusters remain a driving catalyst that can create sustainable levels of innovation and economic growth. Firms, at the heart of active clusters, with the support of those within the cluster ecosystem, can weather the changing dynamics of the global marketplace. TCI 2018 explores the collaboration that is happening within clusters and the opportunities to work together towards shared prosperity.

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This newsletter is prepared by Jen Nelles.
Project manager is David A. Wolfe.