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The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Public vs. Private Sector Myths (Anthem Other Canon Economics) Paperback – June 10, 2013

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Editorial Reviews


�[H]ands down the most refreshing treatment of the innovation issue to have emerged in a long time.� ��Science and Public Policy�

�[A] skillful combination of the history of technology, empirical evidence, and policy analysis [�] the book contains a critical reading of data and arguments that run counter to established views while never falling short of offering constructive solutions.� �Davide Consoli, �Science�

�[P]rovides persuasive evidence that governments deserve more credit than private companies for the development of most important modern technologies.� �Edward Hadas, �Reuters�

�Mazzucato argues that long-term, patient government funding is an absolute prerequisite for breakthrough innovation. [�] Even if you disagree with Mazzucato�s argument, you should read her book. It will challenge your thinking.� �Bruce Upbin, �Forbes�

�Conventional economics offers abstract models; conventional wisdom insists that the answer lies with private entrepreneurship. In this brilliant book, Mariana Mazzucato [�] argues that the former is useless and the latter incomplete.� �Martin Wolf, �Financial Times�

�[A] meticulously argued treatise that shows how unwise our conventional wisdom has become.� �Christopher Dickey, �Newsweek�

�In this trailblazing book on the role of government as both a risk-taking funder of innovation and a market creator, Mariana Mazzucato persuasively argues that the government is a key enabler of technological innovations that drive economic growth. [�] This important book should be read by policymakers, opinion leaders, and others with a stake in funding economic growth.� �' Arnold T. Davis, CFA Institute book review

��The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Public vs. Private Sector Myths� [�] is a meticulously argued treatise that shows how unwise our conventional wisdom has become.� �Christopher Dickey, �Newsweek�

�Makes and engaging, persuasive case in favor of the state, and suggests one recommend it not just as an instrument of market repair but also as a prerequisite for future prosperity.� �J. Bhattacharya, �Choice�

�It is one of the most incisive economic books in years.� �Jeffery Madrick, �New York Review of Books�


�This is a book whose time has come. Mariana Mazzucato documents how the state played a crucial role behind some of the landmark innovations of our time. For many, the �entrepreneurial state� is a contradiction in terms. For Mazzucato, it is both a reality and a requirement for future prosperity.� �Dani Rodrik, Rafiq Hariri Professor of International Political Economy, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

�The principal entrepreneurial drive that has given us many of today�s most important technologies has come from the state. Most thinking and arguing regarding how to energize our sluggish economies is blind to this fact. Mariana Mazzucato�s book aims to get us to understand better the sources of entrepreneurship, and to reflect more positively on the role aggressive technology policies can play in getting our economies moving again.� �Richard Nelson, George Blumenthal Professor of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University

��The Entrepreneurial State� delivers a well-researched and elegantly (even entertainingly) written knock-out to the belief across most of the political spectrum and the economics profession that (with some qualifications) �the market knows best�. As many governments wonder how to boost the productivity and innovativeness of their industrial sectors, this book provides guidelines � based on successful and unsuccessful cases � on how to do industrial policy well. Above all, it shows why the common presumption that the state ��crowds out� the private sector � as though the private sector is a lion caged by a smothering state � is contradicted by what governments of economies from the United States to Brazil and China �actually do to �crowd in� innovations in the private sector.� �Robert Wade, Professor of Political Economy and Development, London School of Economics


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Product Details

  • Series: Anthem Other Canon Economics (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 266 pages
  • Publisher: Anthem Press; 1 edition (June 10, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857282522
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857282521
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #586,529 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mahee Ferlini on October 29, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Interesting analysis on how the state can contribute to long term economic growth especially through investment in research. I found it in line with some of the seminal contributions of Ken Arrow, Dick Nelson, and Keith Pavitt, among the others. However, I would have expected a deeper exploration of the conditions and the rules that can increase productivity and positive externalities of public investment. Moreover, as shown by the cases of Silicon Valley and Cambridge Ma., the US public research system has properties that other national systems of innovation were not able to replicate. So, I would have expected more emphasis on the interplay between competitive, mission oriented, public investment and vibrant market driven innovation dynamics. A good reading in any case. Mahee Ferlini
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25 of 32 people found the following review helpful By laurens van den muyzenberg on August 18, 2013
Format: Paperback
This well researched book proves that most important innovations are based on financing from government. Apple's iPods, iPhones and iPads are presented as one of the examples. The author describes in detail how the government has financed all essential technological innovations used. The author recognizes the genius of Steve Jobs by visualizing an attractive product that people would buy, selecting technologies, and putting them together in a compact beautiful package.

At first sight this appears the way it should be. The government finances technological breakthroughs that are picked up by business. The problem she sees is financing by the government. Governments are pressured to reduce costs and furthermore are accused to be highly inefficient in everything they do. She describes how for example the governments the US, Germany and Denmark invest heavily and effectively in research and development. They act as entrepreneurs taking the highest risks.

She shows that businesses, in the medical electronic and other fields have radically reduced their funding of the more longer term research and development on which breakthroughs depend. Business and venture capitalists are short term orientated. When "innovative" companies are hugely profitable they buy back shares and/or raise dividends but do not invest it in the longer-term future. She presents a lot of statistics to prove this point.

She considers that it is very important for the people at large to recognize the essential role government plays as the fundamental force in innovation. This role goes beyond developing new knowledge. The state in many cases also has to finance the development of a new technology to the point where it is applied and achieve critical mass.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By R. Albin TOP 1000 REVIEWER on November 9, 2014
Format: Paperback
This concise and somewhat polemical book is successful effort to argue for a relatively large role for state intervention in fostering economic growth. Mazzucato points to the substantial role of state-led interventions in the development of important techologies. Her analysis goes well beyond the usual discussion of DARPA and the Internet to discuss a broad array of important technologies fostered by the state, particularly the US Federal government. Who knew, for example, that Apple had an SBIR grant in its early years or that Google's original algorithm development was assisted by an NSF grant. Mazzucato lays out the many ways in which Federal and sometimes US state patronage contributed substantially to the development of important, novel technologies. A key point is that these successful efforts go well beyond routine R&D support, tax credits, and educational efforts to active participation at many levels to translating research into successful products. Mazzucato is quite critical, and successfully so, of conventional views of the roles of venture capital and our financial system in general. She captures this quite nicely by describing the role of the state as dealing with Frank Knight's famous concept of uncertainty - only the state can make the sustained investments and create the market environment for novel technologies - in the essentially unpredictable world of science and technology. Only when uncertainty has been transformed into calculable Knightian risk will conventional market mechanisms assist the development of new technologies.

This is very well done but will be familiar to almost anyone with a modest knowledge of the history of technology development in the 20th century.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By ThomasW on September 13, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book purports to show that new technologies and other innovations come from the government, not the private sector. I read this book expecting arguments showing how government has improved the rate of innovation, perhaps by comparing pre-World War II technological progress (before the government funded a lot of research and development) with post-World War II progress (when government funding increased dramatically). Instead, the book basically lists new technologies with some degree of government involvement and asserts that the government was necessary for the development of these technologies. Throughout the book private contributions are downplayed or ignored and government contributions treated as necessary in new technologies.

The lack of comparison shows up in the area of private research laboratories (Bell Labs, Xerox PARC, etc). The book laments the fact we no longer have these private research labs (around p. 178) yet doesn't try to find the reasons they failed. Perhaps the ever increasing government funding of R&D has contributed. Why should a private company do research when it knows the government can be induced to fund the research and provide it cheaply for development into a product? This is the basis for much of the book's criticism of Pharmaceutical companies. Is there an Entrepreneurial State or have companies found a way to get government to fund their R&D for them (so the Crony Capitalist State)?

A primary thesis of the book is that the State is risk taking while the private sector makes money exploiting State innovations.
If that were true, the Soviet Union would have far outstripped the West and Europe would be a bigger center of innovation than the United States.
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