The IPL newsletter: Volume 19, Issue 382

News from the IPL


New York City Launches Blockchain Initiatives

Rachel Kaufman, Next City
New York City is jumping on the blockchain bandwagon. The city’s official economic development corporation, NYCEDC, announced Monday that it is launching a Blockchain Resource Center and a public blockchain competition for an app that helps improve public services. The New York resource center will be a physical space where entrepreneurs in the blockchain sphere can network and launch new ideas. Its NYC location is still TBA, but the NYCEDC said it is currently scouting locations close to financial, media and real estate areas in the city.

With New Data, New York City Takes First Step Towards Regional Planning

Chelsey Sanchez, Gotham Gazette
The regional planning division of the Department of City Planning, formed just two years ago from a recommendation from Mayor de Blasio’s OneNYC plan, has produced a trove of regional data and is beginning to take its work public, evidenced by a recent presentation, which also included the launch of City Planning’s Metro Region Explorer, an interactive online tool created by DCP’s Planning Labs unit that allows public access to regional economic, housing, and population data and trends. The explorer application shows changes since 2000, with a focus on the 2008-2017 timeframe, putting things in “a regional context” to help show that New York City “has, and is dependent on, a regional ecosystem.”

Editor's Pick

Skill Shift: Automation and the Future of the Workforce

Jaques Bughin et al., McKinsey Global Institute
Skill shifts have accompanied the introduction of new technologies in the workplace since at least the Industrial Revolution, but adoption of automation and artificial intelligence (AI) will mark an acceleration over the shifts of even the recent past. The need for some skills, such as technological as well as social and emotional skills, will rise, even as the demand for others, including physical and manual skills, will fall. These changes will require workers everywhere to deepen their existing skill sets or acquire new ones. Companies, too, will need to rethink how work is organized within their organizations. This briefing, part of ongoing research on the impact of technology on the economy, business, and society, quantifies time spent on 25 core workplace skills today and in the future for five European countries—France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom—and the United States and examines the implications of those shifts.

Innovation Policy

Testimony to the Joint Economics Committee on Regulatory Red Tape and the Innovation Economy

Joe Kennedy, ITIF
The task of regulating the economy is a necessary, but very difficult problem. The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation has written widely on the need for regulatory reform, both in general and as applied to specific sectors. Some of the sectors they have examined include automation of the transportation industry, telecommunications, agricultural biotechnology, and pharmaceuticals. In addition, they have focused extensively on regulations affecting the Internet, including privacy and cybersecurity. ITIF believes that better regulation is needed and, compared to existing regulation, can improve innovation. Reforms that improve market competition, possibly by reducing barriers to entry, increasing the flow of information, or allowing new approaches to comply with existing regulations, can significantly increase productivity by speeding the adoption of existing innovations.

Public Policy in an AI Economy

Austan Goolsbee, NBER
This paper considers the role of policy in an AI-intensive economy (interpreting AI broadly). It emphasizes the speed of adoption of the technology for the impact on the job market and the implications for inequality across people and across places. It also discusses the challenges of enacting a Universal Basic Income as a response to widespread AI adoption, discuss pricing, privacy and competition policy the question of whether AI could improve policy-making itself.

Manufacturing USA and DOE: Supporting Energy Innovation

David M. Hart and Peter L. Singer, ITIF
Manufacturing plays an outsized role in the health of the U.S. economy because of its impact on trade and innovation and its large multiplier effect. Yet, U.S. manufacturing competitiveness has declined over the last 15 years. Accelerating innovation in industrial processes that use energy—and in products used by the energy industry—would strengthen U.S. manufacturing and hasten progress toward national economic, workforce, security, and environmental goals. Manufacturing USA helps fill these gaps. Each of its 14 institutes, 5 of which are sponsored by DOE, is a consortium of large and small companies, academic and nonprofit institutions, and national laboratories that operates in a technological domain that offers significant opportunities to accelerate innovation. These members, with additional support from state governments, provide nonfederal funding that matches or exceeds the initial five-year $70 million federal investment in each institute. This report begins by identifying the national goals that are at stake at the nexus of manufacturing and energy, and explains why federal action is necessary. It then briefly describes DOE’s involvement with manufacturing—both past and present—and its links to the government-wide Manufacturing USA program.

Cities, Clusters & Regions

Smaller Legacy City Toolkit

This toolkit builds off Revitalizing America’s Smaller Legacy Cities: Strategies for Postindustrial Success from Gary to Lowell, a policy focus report produced in partnership by Greater Ohio Policy Center and the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. That report examined the unique challenges and opportunities facing older-industrial communities with fewer than 200,000 residents that are located primarily in the Midwest and Northeast regions of the United States. Eight strategies for small city urban revitalization emerged from that report, and this toolkit is meant to provide additional resources to practitioners working on the ground to implement them. This toolkit remains a work in progress, and will be updated with new resources as they emerge.

Cities, Data, and the Future of Work

Stephen Goldsmith, Governing
Technological innovation is remodeling the workforce, transforming the jobs people do as well as how, where and when they do them. While these changes free up workers to focus on more challenging problems and complex decisions, they also are eliminating many of the jobs on which 20th-century middle-class growth was built. An increasing share of the remaining jobs are contract-based, untethered from a specific location, and lacking the benefits that protected workers in previous generations. Whereas job reports from the U.S. Department of Labor and other agencies necessarily lag behind day-to-day market trends, cities now have the opportunity to analyze job openings in near real-time. Online job marketplaces and data collected by social media companies like LinkedIn can help a city understand the local supply and demand of labor to an unprecedented degree. With more precise analysis, cities can better monitor that data and identify specific opportunities to improve employment.

Rethinking Lagging Regions: Using Cohesion Policy to Deliver on the Potential of Europe’s Regions

The World Bank
The European Union, since its founding, has been a “convergence machine,” generating wealth and a higher quality of living for the poorest in the 28 EU member states. And while this machine still works, it is not working for everyone. This report highlights the nature and implications of regional disparities in Europe. While changing demographics and migration patterns provide additional pressures. Europe’s “lagging regions” include poor “low-income” areas in central and eastern Europe, many of which are converging rapidly, as well as “low-growth” regions in southern Europe that are experiencing stagnant productivity and job destruction. The report stresses that the EU should use Cohesion Policy to maximize its impact on lagging regions by explicitly targeting regional potential and equality of opportunity rather than convergence.

Statistics & Indicators

Recent Research: SBIR Funding Influencing Outcomes

SSTI Weekly Digest
The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program dubs itself as “America’s largest seed fund.” Three recent research articles add to the existing literature on the program. First, a study finds that SBIR supports high-risk efforts to convert R&D. A second study suggests that SBIR awardees are more likely to locate in denser regions but in less dense neighborhoods in those regions. A third study finds that SBIR awardees from federal agencies with more diverse workforces tend to perform better. For the economic development community, these findings may influence the way SBIR-related services such as entrepreneurial assistance programs and matching grants are delivered.

Policy Digest

5 Lessons from Amazon’s HQ2 Frenzy

Aaron M. Renn, Governing
The epic feeding frenzy set off by Amazon’s search for a second headquarters has been unprecedented, not just among the cities and regions bidding for the prize, but also among journalists and analysts covering the event. I have not been immune. After all, it’s hard to imagine another offering on the scale of Amazon’s. But the online retailer’s play wasn’t the first big economic development competition, and it won’t be the last. There always will be plenty of lesser but still significant opportunities for cities, regions and states to compete against one another. Once Amazon makes its choice, the world of economic development will move on. Still, there are some important lessons one can take away from this process.

1. Tax incentives and giveaways are here to stay
For deals like this, it’s essentially impossible for cities and states to resist. It’s like being caught in the prisoner’s dilemma, when two parties acting in their own self-interest take actions that result in a negative outcome for both.

2. Talent is still king
Amazon’s selection of 20 finalists was heavily driven by where the company believed it could readily find the talent it needs to fill 50,000 high-paying white-collar jobs. This includes huge cities with large labor forces, but also smaller cities that have been developing the kind of talent Amazon might want to hire.

3. Only a limited number of cities will win big in tech
That doesn’t mean it’s not worth pursuing the tech business or trying to build something of a local tech community. But tech is unlikely to be a mass-scale employer in the vast majority of places. Cities that pin too much hope on the technology business are likely to be disappointed.

4. Mature corporations are becoming the drivers of tech
The image of a tech company may be as a startup in a garage, but gigantic, mature technology firms like Apple, Facebook and Google increasingly dominate today’s Silicon Valley.

5. Don’t get too focused on huge, sexy deals
Most of the growth in a local economy is going to come from existing businesses. Places need to put the same effort into growing the companies they already have that they do into luring companies from elsewhere. They also need to do what they can to grow new local startups, and not just in the tech sector. There’s no substitute for doing the hard work of starting and scaling up locally based companies.


8th Competition and Innovation Summer School (CISS)

Ulcinj, Montenegro, 28 May – 2 June, 2018
This workshop offers young interested researchers within the fields of the economics of innovation and competition the possibility to intensively discuss their dissertation plans or drafts within a peer group of experienced and renowned scholars, as well as other PhD students and post-doc researchers in a great environment.
CISS offers lectures and workshops on:

  • topics of innovation,
  • the economics of science and intellectual property rights,
  • empirical competition analysis, and
  • contemporary issues surrounding theories of industrial organization.

5G and Broadband Connectivity for All

Durban, South Africa, 31 May – 1 June, 2018
WWRF and CSIR are partnering to organize the wireless world research forum meeting WWRF40 in Durban, South Africa. The theme for the research Forum meeting is: 5G and Broadband Connectivity for All. The Organizers therefore invite academics, researchers and industrial representatives to share information and present results on Future Wireless Communication Systems, Networks and Services and to discuss critical business and regulatory aspects, advanced technology findings that will impact the deployment of 5G and enabling broadband connectivity for All. Technical papers describing recent research results and disruptive innovations in technologies, regulatory positions and business models are solicited. Contributions focusing on the WWRF 40th meeting theme 5G and Broadband Connectivity for All, particularly within the areas of WWRF’s existing Vertical Industry Platforms (VIPs) and Working Groups (WG) are welcome.

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.

4th ZEW Conference on the Dynamics of Entrepreneurship

Mannheim, Germany, 18-19 June, 2018
This conference is jointly organized by University of Mannheim and ZEW. The aim is to discuss recent scientific contributions to entrepreneurship research. Theoretical, empirical, and policy-oriented contributions from all areas of entrepreneurship research are welcome.

List of Topics (non-exhaustive)

̶  Impact of industrial dynamics (entry and exit) on aggregate productivity dynamics
̶  Direct and indirect contributions of entrepreneurial firms to innovation
̶  Personality traits and motivation of entrepreneurs
̶  Human capital of founders and employees
̶  Entrepreneurial teams
̶  Socio-demographic aspects of entrepreneurship (e.g. ethnic entrepreneurship, migrant entrepreneurship, and female entrepreneurship)
̶  Digital entrepreneurship
̶  Incubators, corporate and academic spin-offs
̶  Scale-ups, gazelles and unicorns
̶  Financing young firms: (corporate) venture capital, business angels, crowdfunding, and banks
̶  Employment, wages, and workplace quality in entrepreneurial firms
̶  Impact and efficiency of public entrepreneurship policies
̶  Impact of entrepreneurship on established firms
̶  Entrepreneurship in aging societies

Toronto: The Accidental Metropolis

Toronto, 20 June, 2018
Toronto is evolving with a style and character unique in the world, widely recognized for its livability. Now its economic power and its critical and largely successful function as a crucible of immigrant settlement is becoming more and more evident. Remarkably, the emergence of Canada’s cities on the world stage, and Toronto’s rise to the top dozen in global status, has been largely accidental. How did this happen? At this event, Joe Berridge will explore what makes a successful global city, trace Toronto’s trajectory as “the accidental metropolis,” and talk about where Toronto – and Canadian cities generally – are headed in the years to come.

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.

Call for Participation: International PhD Course on Economic Geography

Utrecht, The Netherlands, 11-14 September and 30 October-2 November, 2018
The course aims to provide an introduction to contemporary research perspectives and approaches in economic geography. The core questions of this discipline – related to the role of place and space in processes of economic development – have in recent years attracted interest not just from geographers but also from economists and other social scientists. This course will debate recent theoretical developments (with special attention to evolutionary and institutional economic geography), and will discuss recent advancements in methodology and empirical analysis in economic geography.

2018 European Week of Regions and Cities – Masterclass on EU Cohesion Policy for PhD Students and Early Career Researchers

Brussels, Belgium, 7-11 October, 2018
As part of the 16th European Week of Regions and Cities (EWRC), the biggest event worldwide on regional and urban development, the Master Class on EU Cohesion Policy will be held for PhD students and early-career researchers for the sixth time. Applications are being sought from PhD students and early career researchers (defined as being within five years of the date on their PhD certificate or equivalent) undertaking research related to European Cohesion Policy to attend the 2018 University Master Class. The Master Class is a unique format to connect aspiring researchers and will include presentations of papers by the participants as well as lectures and panel debates with policymakers, EU officials and senior academics to improve understanding of, and research, on EU Cohesion Policy. In particular, the Master Class will serve to

  • discuss recent research on European regional and urban development and EU Cohesion Policy;
  • enable PhD students and early career researchers to exchange views and network with policymakers, EU officials and senior academics;
  • raise awareness and understanding of the research potential in the field of EU Cohesion Policy.

 The Master Class is organised and led by the European Commission, DG for Regional and Urban Policy (DG REGIO), the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) and the Regional Studies Association (RSA) in cooperation with the European Regional Science Association (ERSA) and the Association of European Schools of Planning (AESOP).

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.