UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose


Mariana Mazzucato to launch UN ECLAC report and meet presidents in Colombia, Argentina, and Chile

12 October 2022

A new report calls on government leaders in Latin America to advance modern industrial strategies oriented around climate and inclusion goals, in a radical departure from traditional economic development models.

Mariana Mazzucato

The report – Transformational Change in Latin America and the Caribbean: a Mission-Oriented Approach – was commissioned by the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and authored by Mariana Mazzucato, Professor in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value at University College London (UCL). Mazzucato has been described by the Times as “the world’s scariest economist” and by Clarín as attracting praise from leaders around the world for her vision to change the course of capitalism.

Professor Mazzucato is meeting with senior government leaders in the region, from the 19th to the 29th of October, to discuss her work and the report’s recommendations, including dedicated meetings with President Gustavo Petro of Colombia, President Alberto Fernandez of Argentina, and President Gabriel Boric of Chile. Her most recent book, Mission Economy: a moonshot guide to changing capitalism, which calls for a bolder government approach to industrial strategy, has received widespread attention in the region. 

The report’s recommendations are timely. The war in Ukraine and the stubborn cost-of-living crisis are hitting countries in Latin America and the Caribbean hard. Growth in the region, which rebounded impressively from COVID-19 with an average GDP rate of 6.8% in 2021, will fall to just 1.8% this year. This reduction will have crippling effects on the most vulnerable: directly impacted by inflation in food and fuel, estimates show that in 2022 the Latin American poverty rate will increase to 33% and extreme poverty will rise to 14.5%. As the governments of Colombia and Chile negotiate a budget for the next fiscal year with proposals for significant tax reform on the table, there is a unique opportunity to redefine economic policy in these countries and across the entire region.

The report underlines the need for structural reform to address lagging productivity, limited fiscal space, and weak public sector capacity. It sets out clear recommendations for aligning each country’s economic growth trajectory with tackling social, economic, and environmental problems through a new “mission-oriented” approach to investment, innovation, and industrial strategy. 

“Transforming these structural challenges into structural opportunities for inclusive growth, sustainable development, and shared prosperity is what this report is about. It is a question of not only talking about the rate of economic growth, but crucially also about its direction.” – Professor Mazzucato.

The report is being launched on the 25th of October at the ECLAC Annual Sessions in Buenos Aires, an event where the region’s leading policymakers and politicians converge to chart the future of LAC’s economic direction. The launch event will take place at 18.30 ART/22.30 BST at the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation of Argentina in Buenos Aires. The agenda and the livestream link is available on the CEPAL website.

Further information is provided below. For media enquiries, please contact iipp-mediaenquiries@ucl.ac.uk



About Transformational Change in Latin America and the Caribbean: a Mission-Oriented Approach

The report will be launched at the CEPAL Annual Sessions in Buenos Aires, Argentina on Tuesday 25th October. The report’s key messages include: 

  • Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) needs a new language, framework, and set of tools to do industrial strategy differently - rethinking the very role of the state from a market fixer to a market shaper. 
  • LAC faces deep structural economic challenges – resilience is currently weak because of the deep structural challenges, including dependence on natural resources, low productivity, social vulnerability, and tight fiscal space.  
  • A mission-oriented approach to industrial strategy can turn these challenges into opportunities - countries must adopt an all-of-government approach and build mission-oriented institutions. There must be a new social contract between the state, business, labour, and citizens. 
  • LAC governments should invest in and build out their public sector capabilities – including to anticipate, adapt, and learn, harness social participation, and democratise innovation. 
  • LAC governments can redesign their tools and instruments to govern their industrial policies in more outcomes-oriented ways 
  • LAC governments can build mission-oriented institutions - The region needs institutions that have the mandate to direct long-term, patient finance and create a safe space for risk-taking and experimentation. 
  • LAC can benefit from a new social contract between the state, business, labour, and citizens – Many citizens in LAC feel as though the social contract is broken with very low levels of public trust. This new social contract can be built upon a more mutualistic relationship between governments and businesses, and more citizen participation in the economy. 
  • The region needs a sense of urgency and purpose. The aim of this report is not to set out a definitive pathway, but to offer a new vocabulary and framework for policymakers in the region. It brings a sense of urgency and purpose.

Read the English version of Transformational Change in Latin America and the Caribbean: A Mission-Oriented Approach here.

Read the Spanish version, Cambio transformacional en América Latina y el Caribe: un enfoque de política orientada por misioneshere.

Further reading

Toward a progressive economic agenda, Project Syndicate
Construyendo en Colombia una economía orientada a la mission, Revista Cambio
Mariana Mazzucato: “La izquierda se ha vuelto perezosa. Debe centrarse en la creación de riqueza”, El País


About Professor Mariana Mazzucato

Mariana Mazzucato is Professor in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value at University College London where she is the founding director of the UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose. Her work challenges orthodox thinking about the role of the state and the private sector in driving innovation; how economic value is created, measured and shared; and how market-shaping policy can be designed in a ‘mission-oriented way’ to solve the grand challenges facing humanity. She is the winner of international prizes, including the 2020 John von Neumann Award and the 2018 Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought.

She is the author of three highly-acclaimed books: The Entrepreneurial State: debunking public vs. private sector myths (2013) which investigates the critical role the state plays in driving growth; The Value of Everything: making and taking in the global economy (2018) which looks at how value creation needs to be rewarded over value extraction; and the most recently released Mission Economy: a moonshot guide to changing capitalism (2021).



About UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose

UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP) is changing how public value is imagined, practised and evaluated to tackle societal challenges.
The world is facing pressing challenges — social, technological and economic. What is the future of the welfare state? How can digital platforms be governed in democratic and inclusive ways? What new forms of investment, regulation and collaboration can best tackle global warming?
IIPP’s work is dedicated to this ambition. We bring revived notions of public value and public purpose to the centre of political economy and to concrete policy practice. Our work equips leaders to co-design growth that is innovation-led, sustainable and inclusive.


About the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC)

ECLAC, which is headquartered in Santiago, Chile, is one of the five regional commissions of the United Nations. It was founded with the purpose of contributing to the economic development of Latin America, coordinating actions directed towards this end, and reinforcing economic ties among countries and with other nations of the world. The promotion of the region's social development was later included among its primary objectives.