The IPL newsletter: Volume 20, Issue 402

News from the IPL


NY Unveils $175 Million Workforce Development Initiative

SSTI Weekly Digest
Recently, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo launched a new effort to streamline the state’s workforce development programs. The $175 million Workforce Development Initiative will consolidate the state’s fragmented workforce development funding opportunities. Using the state’s 10 regional economic development councils (REDC’s) to suggest and prioritize projects, the initiative will offer awards in three competitive categories: public-private partnerships that expand infrastructure and capacity for state universities to meet employer needs; programs to expand employer investment in workforce pipelines; and, workforce solutions that provide flexible funding for innovative workforce development projects such as those targeting advanced industries or underrepresented populations.

Editor's Pick

A Policymaker’s Guide to Blockchain

Alan McQuinn and Daniel Castro, ITIF
Blockchain creates many opportunities to boost productivity, open new markets, and disrupt legacy business models across a variety of sectors. Policymakers can and should do more to support blockchain innovation and adoption, including by supporting public sector adoption, creating a flexible regulatory environment to allow experimentation, and using targeted regulatory enforcement. But without a firm grasp on the technology, policymakers will be unable to facilitate the continued rollout of blockchain in the public and private sectors.

Innovation Policy

Digital Identification: A Key to Inclusive Growth

McKinsey Global Institute
Digital identification, or “digital ID,” can be authenticated unambiguously through a digital channel, unlocking access to banking, government benefits, education, and many other critical services. The risks and potential for misuse of digital ID are real and deserve careful attention. When well-designed, digital ID not only enables civic and social empowerment, but also makes possible real and inclusive economic gains—a less well understood aspect of the technology. This report develops a framework to understand the potential economic impact of digital ID, informed by an analysis of nearly 100 ways in which digital ID can be used in Brazil, China, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In these seven focus countries, extending full digital ID coverage could unlock economic value equivalent to 3 to 13 percent of GDP in 2030, with just over half of the potential economic value potentially accruing to individuals. Realizing this value is by no means certain or automatic—it necessitates multiple high-value use cases and high levels of usage—and not all of these potential sources of economic value may translate into GDP. Yet, with careful system design and policies to promote uptake and mitigate risks, digital ID could be a powerful key to inclusive growth, offering quantifiable economic value to individuals, beyond significant non-economic benefits.

Confronting the Risks of Artificial Intelligence

McKinsey Global Institute
Artificial intelligence (AI) is proving to be a double-edged sword. While this can be said of most new technologies, both sides of the AI blade are far sharper, and neither is well understood. Even as AI generates consumer benefits and business value, it is also giving rise to a host of unwanted, and sometimes serious, consequences. And while the focus of this article is AI, these knock-on effects (and the ways to prevent or mitigate them) apply equally to all advanced analytics. The most visible ones, which include privacy violations, discrimination, accidents, and manipulation of political systems, are more than enough to prompt caution. More concerning still are the consequences not yet known or experienced. Disastrous repercussions—including the loss of human life, if an AI medical algorithm goes wrong, or the compromise of national security, if an adversary feeds disinformation to a military AI system—are possible, and so are significant challenges for organizations, from reputational damage and revenue losses to regulatory backlash, criminal investigation, and diminished public trust. Leaders hoping to avoid, or at least mitigate, unintended consequences need both to build their pattern-recognition skills with respect to AI risks and to engage the entire organization so that it is ready to embrace the power and the responsibility associated with AI. The level of effort required to identify and control for all key risks dramatically exceeds prevailing norms in most organizations. Making real progress demands a multidisciplinary approach involving leaders in the C-suite and across the company; experts in areas ranging from legal and risk to IT, security, and analytics; and managers who can ensure vigilance at the front lines. This article seeks to help by first illustrating a range of easy-to-overlook pitfalls. It then presents frameworks that will assist leaders in identifying their greatest risks and implementing the breadth and depth of nuanced controls required to sidestep them. Finally, it provides an early glimpse of some real-world efforts that are currently under way to tackle AI risks through the application of these approaches.

Statistics & Indicators

Software R&D: Revised Treatment in U.S. National Accounts and Related Trends in Business R&D Expenditures

Francisco Moris, National Science Foundation (NSF)
Software plays an increasingly large role in private sector research and development (R&D) expenditures, according to new research from the NSF’s  National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) and the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). Based on a recent change in how the BEA treats software R&D in its calculations for gross domestic product (GDP) and other metrics, the analysis finds that the share software R&D accounted for $120.8 billion of the $374.7 billion in U.S. business R&D, or 32%, compared with 20% in 2006. The authors also look at longer-term trends in business R&D expenditures on software, as well as an analysis of software R&D in manufacturing and non-manufacturing industries.

Useful Stats: Employment in High-Tech and Manufacturing by State, 2013-2017

Jason Rittenberg, SSTI Weekly Digest
Many regional economic development strategies emphasize employment in manufacturing or high-tech, as these industries tend to provide well-paying jobs. Through an analysis of American Community Survey five-year data for 2013-2017, SSTI assessed state-level employment concentration within these sectors. The portion of a state’s employment based high-tech sectors ranged from 3.8 percent to 13.6 percent (or 14.4 percent for D.C.), from 2013-2017. Nationally, approximately 8.2 percent of the public is employed in high-tech industries. The distribution of states is slightly skewed, with 35 states below the national benchmark and 16 states (and D.C.) above 8.2 percent. Washington (13.6 percent), Massachusetts (13.1 percent), Virginia (12.3 percent), and Colorado (12.0 percent) are at the high end of the spectrum.

Policy Digest

Automation and a Changing Economy

Aspen Institute
Automation is an important ingredient driving economic growth and progressAutomation has enabled workers to transition from subsistence farming to new forms of work. Automation helped moved us from a craft system to mass production, from blue-collar to white-collar to “new collar” work—with better work, higher wages, more jobs, and better living standards. But without adequate policies and institutions, automation can also have negative effects on individuals and communities. Emerging technologies—including artificial intelligence, machine learning, and advanced robotics—have the potential to automate many tasks currently performed by workers, leading to renewed questions over what the future holds for the American workforce. Public policy must ensure the proper support structures are in place to promote opportunity and prosperity for all.

Artificial intelligence and other new technologies may lead to deeper, faster, broader, and more disruptive automation. 

Automation need not be any more disruptive in the future than it has been in the past to warrant increased policy intervention. But there are several reasons to believe that certain converging technologies—particularly artificial intelligence, advanced robotics, machine learning, and expanding computing power and data storage—could lead to increased automation disruption.

  • Deeper: Recent advances in artificial learning technologies may dramatically expand the types of tasks that can be automated.
  • Faster: As artificial learning technologies enable machines to learn at a faster rate, and as innovation moves from hardware to software, labor market disruptions could occur more quickly.
  • Broader: As digital technologies are increasingly incorporated across a broad array of industries and jobs, disruptions may happen simultaneously, leaving few stable occupations for disrupted workers.
  • More Disruptive: Recent forms of automation, such as the use of robotics, focus more on replacing labor rather than augmenting it. In addition, automation has increasingly occurred during recessions, making it harder for disrupted workers
    to find new jobs.

Part II of this report outlines a program to address automation’s challenges and opportunities. The paper calls for an all-of-the-above approach, from targeted interventions to those with systems-level impact; from place-based policies to national-level reforms to social safety net programs. The paper identifies 22 solutions to address four overarching objectives:

I. Encourage Employers to Lead a Human-Centric Approach to Automation 

Challenge: Automation changes workforce skill needs, yet employer investment in workforce development has declined.


  •  1.  Create a Worker Training Tax Credit to encourage business investment in employees.
  •  2.  Encourage employers and educational institutions to expand apprenticeships.
  •  3.  Support development of industry and sector partnerships to create regional jobs and career pathways.

Challenge: Employers are making decisions about adopting automation, but may not take into account potential impacts on workers and communities.


  •  4.  Encourage employers to engage workers in automation decision-making by promoting worker voice.
  •  5.  Plan ahead to mitigate disruption and manage workforce transition.
  •  6.  Promote broadly-shared prosperity through worker ownership.

II. Enable Workers to Access Skills Training, Good Jobs, and New Economic Opportunities

Challenge: The labor market is constantly evolving, with automation contributing to changing jobs and skill needs, but supports for worker training and adult education are limited.


  •  7.  Create worker-owned Lifelong Learning and Training Accounts.
  •  8.  Reform Pell Grants to include short-term training programs.
  •  9.  Improve training quality through community colleges investments and income share agreements.
  •  10.  Increase transparency of training outcomes through better evaluation data.
  •  11.  Expand access to high quality and cost-saving career counseling.

Challenge: Many workers struggle to make ends meet, and while automation has the potential to improve job quality, it also may lead to more low-wage jobs and greater economic insecurity.


  •  12.  Raise worker income and promote job quality through wage subsidies and the minimum wage.
  •  13.  Create a more flexible labor market and promote entrepreneurship.

III. Help People and Communities Recover from Displacements

Challenge: Workers displaced by automation face significant economic challenges.


  •  14.  Support displaced workers to retrain for in-demand fields.
  •  15.  Provide wage insurance to older workers.
  •  16.  Help displaced workers meet the costs associated with finding a new job..
  •  17.  Modernize Unemployment Insurance to improve coverage and sustainability.
  •  18.  Reduce stigma associated with career transitions.

Challenge: Communities that are severely impacted by automation require targeted and comprehensive strategies to recover and transition.


  •  19.  Improve efforts to support local economies and promote regional competitiveness.

IV. Understand the Impact of Automation on the Workforce

Challenge: Policymakers, communities, workers, businesses, educators, and other stakeholders struggle to understand how automation is changing the economy because federal, state and local data on the impact of technology on work is inadequate.


  •  20.  Create new metrics for tracking technological progress and automation.
  •  21.  Improve occupational projections to better account for automation.
  •  22.  Develop better data on how local and regional labor markets are changing.

Technology is not destiny—the impact of innovation on the American worker is mediated by policy choices and how institutions, such as employers, worker organizations, nonprofits and philanthropies, respond to these challenges. By helping workers take advantage of new opportunities and assisting workers who are acutely impacted by automation return to stable work, we can promote greater opportunity and broadly shared prosperity for all.


Workshop Series on Migration, Globalization and the Knowledge Economy

Utrecht, Netherlands, 16-17 May, 2019
The workshop will consist of a 2-day plenary session with presentations and discussions, and two keynote speakers. The keynote speakers of the Utrecht workshop will be Ina Ganguli, from University of Massachusetts, and Ufuk Akcigit, from the University of Chicago. We aim to attract both senior and junior scholars dealing with research topics such as the role of high-skilled migration in fostering innovation in receiving countries, the relationship between diversity and innovation, the role of skilled diasporas and return migrants in diffusing knowledge back to their home countries, the emerging role of MNC in shaping scientists’ and engineers’ migration flows as well as temporary migration and knowledge sharing, migration and innovation-based start-ups formation, regions and mobility, and so forth.

8th ZEW/MaCCI Conference on the Economics of Innovation and Patenting

Manheim, Germany, 16-17 May, 2019
The conference aims to stimulate discussion between international researchers conducting related empirical and theoretical analysis. In addition to keynote lectures by Professor Dietmar Harhoff and Professor Timothy Simcoe as well as parallel sessions, there will also be an invited session on innovative public procurement with Professor Dirk Czarnitzki and Professor Giancarlo Spagnolo. Theoretical and empirical contributions from all areas of the economics of innovation and patenting are welcome. Interested researchers are invited to submit a paper or an extended abstract (min. 3 pages) in PDF format to no later than 15 February 2019.


Bordeaux, France, 20-21 May, 2019
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 2016 or later). Up to 18 papers will be selected from open submissions on the basis of peer review. Contributions are invited on (but not limited to) one or more of the following topics:

  • The evaluation of science policy
  • Organising research activities in universities, PROs and private R&D labs
  • Spillovers from scientific research
  • Role of gender and family in scientific research
  • Science research networks and collaboration
  • Scientific careers and mobility

Deadline for the submission of papers or extended abstracts (min 3 pages) is January 31st 2019. Submissions should be previously unpublished works. All submissions are reviewed with respect to novelty, academic quality and relevance.

CFP: A Great Transformation? Workshop on the Impact of Automation and Artificial Intelligence on Regional Economies

Torino, Italy, 27-28 May, 2019
RENIR and Despina are pleased to announce the RENIR Workshop on the impact of automation and artificial intelligence on regional economies, sponsored by Collegio Carlo Alberto and the University of Turin.We aim to attract contributions from both junior and senior scholars. Up to 18 papers will be selected from open submissions on the basis of peer review.

School of Cities Spring Symposium: Governing Cities in the 21st Century

Toronto, 28 May, 2019
What should governance look like in the 21st century? Can we leverage national, provincial and municipal relationships to advance urban governance? How do we scale up local responses to reach collective goals? At the School of Cities spring symposium, Governing Cities in the 21st Century, these crucial questions will be discussed with experts, including a lightning talk by Nasma Ahmed, Director, Digital Justice Lab; a keynote by Michelynn Laflèche, Vice President, United Way Greater Toronto; and a fireside chat with Bill Peduto, Mayor of Pittsburgh and Richard Florida, University Professor, School of Cities and Rotman School of Management. Join urban thought leaders, policy makers, planners, community advocates and business leaders as we exchange ideas on ways to meet the challenges of governing cities in the midst of change.

CFP: 2019 University-Industry Interaction Conference

Helsinki, Finland, 18-20 June, 2019
This key event for university leaders, practitioners from both business and university, policymakers and educators attracts more than 500 participants from over 60 countries to interact, share knowledge and establish new relationships. During this three-day event, you will encounter presentations from over 100 organisations, tour innovation spaces, have access to a wide variety of workshops and participate in numerous networking opportunities to gain new insights into the bigger picture of university-industry interaction.


Copenhagen, Denmark, 19-21 June, 2019
Since 1996, DRUID has become one of the world’s premier academic conferences on innovation and the dynamics of structural, institutional and geographic change. DRUID is proud to invite senior and junior scholars to participate and contribute with a paper to DRUID19, hosted by Copenhagen Business School. Presenting distinguished plenary speakers, a range of parallel paper sessions, and an attractive social program, the conference aims at mapping theoretical, empirical and methodological advances, contributing novel insights, and help identifying scholarly positions, divisions, and common grounds in current scientific controversies within the field. Keynotes delivered by top scholars from innovation studies, management, economic geography, and numerous other research fields. Plenary speakers at DRUID19 include Stefano Brusoni, Dimo Dimov, Nijanlana Dutt, Annabel Gawer, Martine Haas, Adam B. Jaffe, Michael G. Jacobides, Sarah Kaplan and Dan Levinthal.

The 2019 Technology Transfer Society Annual Conference

Toronto, 26-28 September, 2019
The Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy and the Technology Transfer Society would like to invite you to submit a paper* to the 2019 Technology Transfer Conference. The main themes of the Conference will revolve around technology transfer and innovation policy, technology commercialization and entrepreneurship (with a focus on universities), and inclusive innovation. Submissions featuring longitudinal and historical studies, ideally using mixed-methods research are particularly encouraged. Submissions based on other methods are also welcome. For more information on how to submit an abstract, visit the Call for Papers page.

Atlanta Conference on Science and Innovation Policy

Atlanta, GA, 14-17 October, 2019
The Atlanta Conference on Science and Innovation Policy provides a showcase for the highest quality scholarship addressing the multidimensional challenges and interrelated characteristics of science and innovation policy and processes.

Regional Innovation Policies 2019: Technological Chance, Social Innovation, and Regional Transformation

Florence, Italy, 7-8 November, 2019
The Conference will focus on the paths of regional transformation that emerge as a response to technological and social change. Sustainability issues require regions to face change by trying to balance economic growth with social innovation. We will discuss the role that regional policies can play within such scenarios, by supporting the creation of new assets and resources, as well as favouring multi-level alignments of visions and interests.

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