Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


Myths around the public sector and whose interests are served by the underlying lies

17 July 2018, 6:00 pm

Mariana Mazzucato.jpg

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Institute of Advanced Studies


IAS Common Ground, Ground Floor, South Wing

The IAS is delighted to welcome Professor Mariana Mazzucato for this talk. 

What conditions breed innovation and entrepreneurship? Most people seem to agree that the state playing a large role in the economy is not one of them. Indeed, burdensome government bureaucracy is typically juxtaposed in opposition to the ambitious, risk-taking entrepreneurs who have driven the technological revolution of the past few decades, and now operate the world's largest and most dynamic corporations.

There is no Silicon Valley in Europe, so the argument goes, because Europe lacks America's free market capitalism and minimal state intervention. This assumption, says Mariana Mazzucato, is not only factually wrong but dangerous for the future of innovation and increases inequality. The false dichotomy between "the public sector" and "the private sector" leaves out the vital role that government has played - and must continue to play - in acting as financial backer and risk-taker in the most important innovations of our time that can help tackle the grand challenges facing us. Furthermore the lie ends up causing a situation by which risks are socialised while returns are privatised.


Professor Mariana Mazzucato (PhD) holds the Chair in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value at University College London (UCL), and is Founder and Director of the UCL Institute for Innovation & Public Purpose (IIPP).  

She is winner of the 2014 New Statesman SPERI Prize in Political Economy, the 2015 Hans-Matthöfer-Preis, and the 2018 Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought. She was named as one of the '3 most important thinkers about innovation' by the New Republic.  

Her highly-acclaimed book The Entrepreneurial State: debunking public vs. private sector myths (Anthem 2013; Public Affairs, 2015) was on the 2013 Books of the Year list of the Financial Times. Her new book The Value of Everything: making and taking in the global economy was published in April 2018 the UK (Penguin) and is forthcoming in the USA in September 2018 (Public Affairs)

She advises policy makers around the world on innovation-led inclusive growth and is currently a member of the Scottish Government’s Council of Economic Advisors; the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network Leadership Council; and SITRA’s Advisory Panel in Finland.  She is currently a Special Advisor for the EC Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Carlos Moedas, and has recently authored a high impact EC report Mission-Oriented Research & Innovation in the European Union. She is also a Special Advisor to the Secretary General of the OECD, Angel Gurría, for the OECD’s New Growth Narrative.

The IAS Lies Public Lecture Series is part of our 2017-18 research theme Lies and is generously supported by Mishcon de Reya's Mishcon Academy.