David Wolfe

Co-Director, Innovation Policy Lab
Professor, Political Science University of Toronto Mississauga
Headshot of David Wolfe

Current affiliations

  • Affiliated Faculty, Centre for International Studies


Main Bio

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 & Public Policy at the University of Toronto. He was the Royal Bank Chair in Public and Economic Policy from 2009-2014. His research interests include the political economy of technological change and the role of local and regional economic development, with special reference to Canada and Ontario. Since 2014, he is lead investigator on the Creating Digital Opportunity Partnership (CDO) SSHRC-funded project to study how Canada can best respond to the challenges posed by a rapidly changing digital landscape, while benefiting from emerging opportunities to promote our economic prosperity. From 1999-2011 he was national coordinator of the Innovation Systems Research Network (ISRN), funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and was principal investigator on two Major Collaborative Research Initiatives, the first on Innovation Systems and Economic Development: The Role of Local and Regional Clusters in Canada, followed by a six year study on the Social Dynamics of Economic Performance: Innovation and Creativity in City Regions which ended in 2011. He is the editor or co-editor of ten books and numerous scholarly articles.

He holds a B.A. and an M.A. in Political Science from Carleton University and a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto. From October, 1990 to August, 1993 he served as Executive Coordinator for Economic and Labour Policy in the Cabinet Office of the Government of Ontario. Upon his return to the University of Toronto from 1993 until 1997, he was a research associate in the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research’s Program on Law and the Determinants of Social Ordering. He has acted as an advisor to the Royal Commission on the Economic Union and Development Prospects for Canada, the Ontario Premier’s Council, the E-Business Opportunities Roundtable and the Electronic Commerce Task Force of Industry Canada, the National Research Council, the LEED Program of the OECD, the Ontario Panel on the Role of Government, the Ontario Research and Innovation Council, DG Region of the European Commission, and the Toronto Region Research Alliance. He was the CIBC Scholar-in-Residence for the Conference Board of Canada in 2008-2009 and published a book for the Conference Board, entitled 21st Century Cities in Canada: The Geography of Innovation.

Select publications

Journal Articles: 

  • with Jen Nelles, “Urban Governance and Civic Capital: Analysis of an Evolving Concept,” Territory, Politics, Governance. (2022) https://doi.org/10.1080/21622671.2022.2123031 
  • with Richard DiFrancesco and Steven Denney, “Localization of Global Innovation Networks: Competence Creating Strategies in Toronto’s Regional Economy,” Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy & Society 15:2 (July 2022):323, https://doi.org/10.1093/cjres/rsac002 
  • with Nathan Lemphers, Steven Bernstein, and Matthew Hoffman, “Rooted in place: Regional innovation, assets, and the politics of electric vehicle leadership in California, Norway, and Quebec,” Energy Research and Social Science 87 (May 2022): https://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2021.102462 
  • with Elena Goracinova and Patrick Galvin, “Emerging Models of Networked Industrial Policy: Comparative Trends in Automotive Policy in the US and Germany,” International Journal of Automotive Technology and Management 22:1 (2022): 29-51. http://dx.doi.org/10.1504/IJATM.2022.122096 
  • with Michaela Trippl, Simon Baumgartinger-Seiringer and Elena Goracinova, “Automotive regions in transition: preparing for connected and autonomous vehicles,” Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space 53:5 (August 2021): 1158-1179. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0308518X20987233  
  • with Steven Denney and Travis Southin, “Entrepreneurs and Cluster Evolution: The Transformation of Toronto’s ICT Cluster,” Regional Studies 55:2 (February 2021): 196-207. https://doi.org/10.1080/00343404.2020.1762854 
  • “Innovation by Design: Impact and Effectiveness of Public Support for Innovation,” Annals of Science and Technology Policy 3:3 (December 2019): 258-347. http://dx.doi.org/10.1561/110.00000014 
  • with Allison Bramwell and Nicola Hepburn, “Growing entrepreneurial ecosystems: Public intermediaries, policy learning and regional innovation,” Journal of Entrepreneurship and Public Policy 8:2 (July 2019): 272-292. http://doi/10.1108/JEPP-04-2019-0034 


Working Papers: 

1. with Elena Goracinova and Lisa Huh, “Integrated Mobility and the Governance of Urban Transit,” IPL Working Paper No. 2022-01. Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, January 2022.  

2. with Mdu Mhalanga, “The Platform Economy and Competition Policy: Implications for Canada,” IPL Working Paper No. 2022-2, Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, April, 2022. 

3. with Tracey M. White, “Canada as a Learning Economy: Education and Training in an Age of Intelligent Machines. Policy Challenges and Policy Responses.” IPL Working Paper No. 2021-04. Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, September 2021. 

4. with Steven Denney and Travis Southin, ““It’s Not That Hard to Pick Winners:” How Growth and National Context Shape Scale-up Entrepreneurs’ Assessments of Innovation Policy Mixes,” Innovation Policy Lab Working Paper Series No. 2021-02, Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, March 2021. 

5. With Elena Goracinova, “Regional Resilience and the Future of Ontario’s Automotive Sector in the Age of Digital Disruption,” RENIR Working Paper No. 2019-02, Collegio Carlo Alberto, Turin, Italy, April 2019