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Seminar: Mission-Oriented Public Investments?

10th March 2015 @ 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm

Mission-Oriented Public Investments? State Investment Banks & Picking-Winner Policies

Speakers: Mariana Mazzucato and Caetano Penna

Discussants: Martin Bell and Stephany Griffith-Jones

This event is jointly hosted by the STEPS Centre and IDS Business and Development Centre

Live Streaming Tuesday 10 March 2015 12:30 to 14:00

Refreshments will be provided from 12:00 IDS Convening Space

This seminar focuses on the rise of state investment banks (SIBs) as lead funders of ‘mission-oriented’ innovation in various countries’ agendas regarding ‘smart’ (innovation-led) growth, arguing that the market failure justification for public finance does not capture the increasingly active role that such banks are playing in shaping and creating markets.

It will also look at mission-oriented investments by other types of public funding agencies — sometimes branded as ‘picking winner’ policies—with a particular focus on the need for metrics to evaluate such investments in a way that captures the market shaping (vs. fixing) role of public investments.

About the Speakers

Mariana Mazzucato is a Professor in the Economics of Innovation in the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU), University of Sussex. Her work focuses on the economics of innovation; finance and economic growth; and the role of the State in modern capitalism. She advises policy makers globally on how to achieve ‘smart’ – innovation led – and more inclusive economic growth.

Her recent book, The Entrepreneurial State: debunking private vs. public sector myths, challenges the image of the lethargic, regulating state versus the dynamic business sector, showing how some of the most high risk and courageous investments that led to revolutions in IT, biotechnology and nanotechnology, were sparked by public sector institutions. She is winner of the New Statesman SPERI Prize in Political Economy and in 2013 the New Republic called her one of the ‘3 most important thinkers about innovation’.

Caetano C.R. Penna obtained his PhD in Science and Technology Policy from the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU), University of Sussex, in 2014; his MA in Technology Governance from the Ragnar Nurkse School of Innovation and Governance, TUT, Estonia in 2009, and his BA in Economics and Political Economy from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) in 2006.

Dr Penna was a Research Fellow in Finance and Innovation at SPRU until November 2014, where he played a leading role in linking two research projects led by Professor Mariana Mazzucato (INET’s Financing Innovation and Ford Foundation’s Finance and The Entrepreneurial State). Together with Mazzucato, he has developed the video project Rethinking the State. He is a founding partner of BabelTeam Internet Business Solutions, and has previously worked at the Investor Relations department of Petrobras, the Brazilian oil company.


Martin Bell, an historian and economist, is an Emeritus Professor at SPRU, University of Sussex. His research has been concerned with processes of building industrial innovation capabilities in Asian, Latin American and African economies. He focuses in particular on the roles of these capabilities in the long-term evolution of innovation systems in these countries, and on the influence of those paths on both the structural diversification of their economies and their possible transitions towards more sustainable futures.

Stephanie Griffith Jones is an economist working on global capital flows, with particular focus on flows to emerging markets, macro-economic management of capital flows in Latin America, Eastern Europe and sub-Saharan Africa, proposals for international measures to diminish volatility of capital flows and reduce the likelihood of currency crises, analysis of national and international capital markets and international financial reform.


10th March 2015
12:30 pm - 2:00 pm
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Harriet Dudley
+44 (0)1273 915673


Room 221, Institute of Development Studies
Library Road, Falmer
Brighton, BN1 9RE United Kingdom
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