The IPL newsletter: Volume 23, Issue 479

February 15, 2023

News from the IPL


Does Canada have an effective innovation policy?

March 16, 2023 |11:00AM - 12:00PM, Online via Zoom

Since 2000 Canada has witnessed a proliferation of Innovation Strategies, including the 2017 Innovation and Skills Plan. Yet our innovation performance continued to deteriorate throughout this period. The 2022 Federal Budget began with the admission, “Our third pillar for growth is a plan to tackle the Achilles’ heel of the Canadian economy: productivity and innovation.” What factors best explain Canada’s dismal innovation performance over the past two decades? Join us for an IPL webinar with two of the most insightful analysts of Canadian innovation policy.

Poster for March 16th IPL webinar titled Does Canada have an effective innovation policy


Micro-geography of Interactions in the City: Interaction Patterns of KIBS in Montreal

February 23, 2023 | 4:00PM - 6:00PM, In-person, 108N North House, Munk School, 1 Devonshire Place, Toronto ON

David Doloreux, Professor, Department of International Business and Chair in Innovation and Regional Development, HEC Montreal

Anthony Frigon, Assistant Professor, Department of International Business, HEC Montreal


Evidence use in State policymaking: A bibliometric analysis of two consequential policy areas

March 9, 2023 | 4:00PM - 6:00PM, In-person, Boardroom at the Munk School, 315 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON.

Kimberley R. Isett, Professor, Joseph R. Biden, Jr. School of Public Policy and Administration, University of Delaware



Socially Irresponsible Employment in Emerging-Market Manufacturers

Greg Distelhorst, Anita McGahan, Organization Studies
This article was co-authored by IPL Affiliated Faculty member Anita McGahan and was featured in the latest issue of the Rotman Management Magazine. "
Are socially irresponsible employment practices, such as abusive discipline and wage theft, systematically tied to manufacturing outcomes in emerging-market countries? Drawing on a stream of stakeholder theory that emphasizes economic interdependencies and insights from the fields of industrial relations and human resource management, we argue that working conditions within a firm are facets of a systemic approach to value creation and value appropriation. Some manufacturers operate “low road” systems that rest on harmful practices. Others operate “high road” systems in which the need to develop employees’ human capital deters socially irresponsible employment practices. To test the theory, we conduct a large-scale study of labor violations and manufacturing outcomes by analyzing data on over four thousand export-oriented small manufacturers in 48 emerging-market countries. The analysis demonstrates that socially irresponsible employment practices are associated with inferior firm-level manufacturing outcomes even after controlling for the effects of firm size, industry, product mix, production processes, host country, destination markets, and buyer mix. The theory and results suggest an opportunity for multinational corporations to improve corporate social performance in global value chains by encouraging their suppliers to transition to systems of value creation that rely on the development of worker human capital."

Progress in economic geography: Inaugural editorial

Robert Hassink, Michaela Trippl, Shiri Breznitz, Lars Coenen, Rune Dahl Fitjar, Huiwen Gong, Canfei He, Matthew Zook, Progress in Economic Geography
This article was co-authored by IPL affiliated faculty member Shiri Breznitz.Economic geography has been thriving and prospering for many years, as has been claimed by leading scholars in the field, such as Scott (2000),
who wrote about the ‘Great Half-Century’ of economic geography and more recently, Martin (2021), who observed the ‘Great Expansion’ of the discipline. This is also testified by the visibility of influential journals in the field, as well as various handbooks (see, for instance,Clark et al., 2018) and textbooks (Aoyama et al., 2010, Barnes and Christophers, 2018, Coe et al., 2019, Barnes and Christophers, 2018). Moreover, its success is also demonstrated by the popularity of the Global Conference on Economic Geography, the Geography of Innovation conferences, as well as economic geography related special sessions at the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers, and the Regional Studies Association. The recent expansion and booming of this field of human geography, as illustrated above, also indicates that scientists in other social sciences are increasingly discovering the relevance of geographical perspectives for their research (Martin, 2021).

U of T Public Policy Reports Collection  

The Division of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation (VPRI) and the University of Toronto Libraries (UTL) have issued a call for submissions to U of T’s Public Policy Reports Collection on TSpace. This unique collaboration promotes public policy-related working papers authored by the U of T community and hosted on TSpace, a free and secure research repository. The collection provides permanent URLs on a high-traffic platform, enabling timely research to be available sooner than through traditional scholarly publication channels. Submit current and past policy reports here.


Editor's Pick

Level best? The levelling up agenda and UK regional inequality

Mark Fransham, Max Herbertson, Mihaela Pop, Margarida Bandeira Morais & Neil Lee, Regional Studies
‘Levelling up’ – a policy agenda focused on reducing regional inequalities – has become the new mantra in British politics. This paper critiques the policy programme from its emergence in 2019 to the publication of the 2022 levelling up White Paper. While it is a welcome recognition of gross regional inequality, local institutions lack capacity to deliver, there has been little genuine devolution and our analysis shows that little new funding has been committed. ‘Levelling up’ could simply become the latest in a list of politically useful but empty slogans which are used as a substitute for resources and devolution.


Cities & Regions

How research universities are evolving to strengthen regional economies: Case studies from the Build Back Better Regional Challenge

Joseph Parilla & Glencora Haskins, Brookings Institute
A new wave of federal place-based economic policies led by the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) and the National Science Foundation is fostering regional development via larger-scale, longer-term competitive challenge grants that bring together networks of institutions, including research universities, around a targeted economic opportunity. Drawing on one of those programs—the EDA’s $1 billion Build Back Better Regional Challenge—this post explores some of the most promising multi-system economic strategies that research universities are leading. 

Towards a Fuel Hydrogen Economy in the Calgary Region

David Layzell, Dinara Millington, and Robert Lee, The Transition Accelerator
This report explores the Calgary region’s potential to establish a hydrogen hub and link with other hubs to create transportation corridors, providing recommendations for how Calgary can take advantage of the opportunity. The Calgary Region is superbly positioned to take a leadership role in transitioning to a vibrant hydrogen economy that can position Calgary, Alberta and Canada as a key part of the climate change solution. The region has large potential markets for fuel hydrogen and the resources and workforce to produce and make cost-effective, very low GHG hydrogen available where it is needed. Such a start can rapidly grow in scale and then expand to hydrogen use for heat and power generation, attracting new industries.


This paper uses information collected and provided by GlassAI to analyse the characteristics and activities of companies and universities in Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States that mention keywords related to Artificial Intelligence (AI) on their websites. The analysis finds that those companies tend to be young and small, mainly operate in the information and communication sector, have AI at the core of their business, and aim to provide customer solutions. It is noteworthy that the types of AI-related activities reported by them vary across sectors. Additionally, although universities are concentrated in and around large cities, this is not necessarily reflected in the intensity of AI-related activities. Taken together, this novel and timely evidence informs the debate on the most recent stages of digital transformation of the economy.

Demand-pull, technology-push, and the direction of technological change

Kerstin Hötte, Research Policy
This paper studies the impact of Demand-pull (DP) and Technology-push (TP) on growth, innovation, and the factor bias of technological change in a two-layer network of input–output (market) and patent citation (innovation) links among 307 6-digit US manufacturing industries in 1977–2012. Two types of TP and DP are distinguished: (1) DP and TP are between-layer spillovers when market demand shocks pull innovation and innovation pushes market growth. (2) Within-layer DP arises if downstream users trigger upstream innovation and growth, while TP effects spill over from up- to downstream industries. The results support between- and within-layer TP: Innovation spillovers from upstream industries drive market growth and innovation. Within the market, upstream supply shocks stimulate growth, but this effect differs across industries. DP is not supported but shows a factor bias favoring labor, while TP comes with a shift towards non-production work. The results are strongest after the 2000s and shed light on the drivers of recent technological change and its factor bias.

Innovation Policy

Missions as boundary objects for transformative change: understanding coordination across policy, research, and stakeholder communities

Green Hydrogen Industrial Value Chains: Geopolitical and Market Implications

Nicola De Blasio & Laima Eicke, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School
This report explores industrial policies for Green Hydrogen. Focusing on three key industrial applications—ammonia, methanol, and steel production, which today account for about 41% of global hydrogen demand and which are expected to increase their shares due to global decarbonization efforts (IRENA, 2022)—the report identify five country groups based on the three key variables of resource endowment, current positioning in hydrogen markets, and economic relatedness. While individual countries in each group face unique challenges and opportunities, nascent dynamics between these groups could spur a green race for industrial leadership impacting international relations.

National Battery Strategy: issues paper

Australia Department of Industry, Science and Resources
This Issues Paper marks the formal launch of the Australian government’s consultation on the National Battery Strategy. The National Battery Strategy will complement other government priorities such as the AUD$15 billion National Reconstruction Fund (NRF), Powering Australia plan (including the National Electric Vehicle Strategy and Australia’s emissions reduction target), Rewiring the Nation, A Future Made in Australia, and the Critical Minerals Strategy. The announcement states that "We want your views on how governments, industry and researchers can work together to create and support a sustainable, thriving end-to-end battery supply chain."

Policy Digest

Compete and Succeed in a Net-Zero Future

Canada’s Net-Zero Advisory Body (NZAB)
This report to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change provides concrete solutions the Government of Canada should implement through the mobilization of all parts of society to ensure Canada benefits from a global net-zero economy, accelerates the attainment of a net-zero emissions economy, and generates clean prosperity for generations to come. Originally launched in February 2021 and formalized under the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act in June 2021, the NZAB’s legislated mandate is to provide independent advice to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change with respect to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

The report includes 25 recommendations across the NZAB’s three lines of inquiry identified for 2022-23:

  1. Net-Zero Governance: Building on advice for the 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan, the NZAB focused on the capacity, structures and accountabilities that will be required to achieve the whole-of-society transformation to net-zero emissions, notably with respect to modelling Canada’s pathway to net-zero.

  2. Net-Zero Industrial Policy: Under this line of inquiry, the NZAB examined the institutional structures required to develop and implement a net-zero industrial policy that will ensure that Canada grasps the benefits of the net-zero transition and competes in a global net-zero economy.

  3. Net-Zero Energy Systems: Decarbonizing energy systems is critical to achieving net-zero. The NZAB began investigating ways to transform energy production and adapt energy use and demand. Recognizing the complexity of the energy transition, the NZAB’s work for 2022 focused on electrification and foundational advice for the future composition of energy systems in 2050.

The Net-zero industrial policy recommendations section notes that the Government of Canada should pursue the following specific actions:

  • initially focus its Canadian net-zero industrial policy on a limited number of priority sectors that have significant economic opportunities for growth and benefits across all regions of Canada

  • establish time-limited strategy tables to develop net-zero competitiveness goals and roadmaps for priority sectors, bringing together a small number of relevant federal departments with industry, independent experts, labour, provincial and territorial representatives, and Indigenous rights holders.

  • use independent intermediaries to support these tables by providing and engaging expertise in
    key sectors and developing and deepening sectoral buy-in. It is critical that these tables are empowered to provide strategic direction, but implementation is a shared responsibility among
    governments, the private sector, and other relevant parties.

  • Central agencies should be responsible for leading, coordinating, and regularly monitoring the implementation of net-zero industrial policies, using a system-level strategy, to ensure coherence and
    timely progress.

  • refocus existing funds, such as the Strategic Innovation Fund and the Canada Growth Fund, to portfolios of net-zero compatible projects aligned with its net-zero industrial policy that together
    support the emissions reduction targets in the ERP. It should explore creative and flexible financing options, including the use of public procurement, to advance net-zero industrial policy goals.

  • use international trade policy to support its industrial policy goals and to build secure supply chains for
    the inputs and technologies required to reach net-zero.

  • ensure regulatory approval processes accelerate the objectives of the net-zero industrial policy.

  • align its skills and jobs agenda with its industrial policy competitiveness goals.


Links to recent IPL webinars

The Politics of Decarbonization

Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy

The transition to a post-carbon energy and economic paradigm is a stated priority for all the signatories to the Paris Accord, including Canada. Success in achieving this objective will depend on a complex mix of policy experimentation and coalition building in support of that objective, cutting across virtually every sector of the economy. This panel will explore some of the dimensions of that process and the prospects for success in achieving that objective.

Moderator: David A. Wolfe is Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto Mississauga and Co-Director of the Innovation Policy Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy.


  • Brendan Haley is Policy Research Director at Efficiency Canada, a research and advocacy organization based at Carleton University. He has a PhD in Public Policy from Carleton University and was awarded a Banting postdoctoral fellowship where his work examined Canadian energy transitions from political economy and technological innovation perspectives.

  • Sara Hastings-Simon is macro energy system researcher and Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary where she directs the Masters of Science in Sustainable Energy Development.

  • Nathan Lemphers is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Waterloo and former Postdoctoral Fellow at the Smart Prosperity Institute where he researched the regional political economy of electric vehicles. Sponsored by the Innovation Policy Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy

National Governments & Innovation Policy: Where – and What – Is Utopia?

This is a recording of a January 10 panel focused on national governments and Innovation policy. Canada, the Nordics, Taiwan? In this webinar, panelists examined the diverse roles played by national governments in setting the stage for innovation, as well as the key elements that ought to be considered in formulation of innovation policy in Canada and elsewhere.


  • Susana Borras, Professor, Department of Organization, Copenhagen Business School, Copenhagen Denmark

  • Dan Breznitz, University Professor and Munk Chair of Innovation Studies; Co-Director, Innovation Policy Lab, Munk School; Clifford Clark Visiting Economist, Department of Finance, Government of Canada

  • Darius Ornston, Associate Professor, Munk School

  • Joseph Wong, Vice-President, International, University of Toronto; Roz and Ralph Halbert Professor of Innovation, Munk School; Professor, Department of Political Science


  • Rana Foroohar, Global Business Columnist and Associate Editor, Financial Times, and Global Economic Analyst, CNN


16th Workshop on The Organisation, Economics and Policy of Scientific Research

13 – 14 April 2023
The Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition and TUM are organising the annual workshop “The Organisation, Economics and Policy of Scientific Research” at the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition in Munich. We aim to attract contributions from both junior and senior scholars on topics related to the organisation, economics and policy of scientific research. A minimum number of slots are reserved for junior researchers (PhD students or postdoc scholars who obtained their PhD in 2020 or later). Please submit previously unpublished papers or extended abstracts (min 3 pages) by 15 January 2023. We strive to notify authors by 27 February 2023.

22nd Annual Research Money Conference - Reimagining Innovation: A New Strategy in a Disrupted World

18-20 April 2023, Ottawa, ON
The 22nd Annual Research Money conference will be taking a deep dive into innovation policy weeks after the federal budget comes down from Ottawa. Over the span of three days, keynotes and expert panels will examine innovation through three lenses; Understanding innovation, Doing innovation and Supporting innovation. This highly anticipated conference attracts 200+ leaders and practitioners from academia, government, industry, finance and the not-for-profit sector. 

Atlanta Conference on Science and Innovation Policy

May 24-26, 2023, Georgia Institute of Technology Global Learning Center, Atlanta
The Atlanta Conference on Science and Innovation Policy provides a showcase for the highest quality scholarship from around the world addressing the challenges and characteristics of science and innovation policy and processes.


June 27 to 29, 2023, Toronto
The 6th International Conference on Public Policy (ICPP6) is coming to Toronto! Organized by IPPA, ICPP6 is hosted by the Toronto Metropolitan University's Faculty of Arts and Public Policy graduate studies programs and will take place at the University's premises in downtown Toronto from June 27 to 29, 2023, with a Pre-Conference on June 26. This conference includes a panel chaired by IPL Co-director Dan Breznitz called "Organizational Evolution in Innovation Policy." See here for submission instructions. The paper submission deadline is Jan. 31, 2023.


Research professional (French & English speaking and writing are required) under the responsibility of the Innovation Chair and 4POINT0 in Catherine Beaudry's team. They are looking for a PhD student, a graduate student, a post-doc or others who can mainly coordinate student research projects and write grant proposals. They strongly advise you to contact them for the terms of the job offer. Deadline 30th January.

Subscriptions & Comments

Please forward this newsletter to anyone you think will find it of value. We look forward to collaborating with you on this initiative. If you would like to comment on, or contribute to, the content, subscribe or unsubscribe, please contact us at .

This newsletter is prepared by Travis Southin.
Project manager is David A. Wolfe