ITIF Logo
ITIF Search

US Trails Germany in States’ “Innovation Competitiveness,” Despite Mass., Calif. Ranking 1, 2 in New Transatlantic Index

WASHINGTON—Competitiveness in the global economy hinges on innovation, and on that score the median German state is outpacing the median U.S. state, according to a new ranking produced by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) in collaboration with the German Economic Institute (IW), the Institute for Competitiveness (I-Com) in Italy, and the Macdonald-Laurier Institute (MLI) in Canada.

The new “Transatlantic Subnational Innovation Competitiveness Index” examines the innovation ecosystems of 96 states, provinces, and subnational regions across the United States, Canada, Germany, and Italy using 13 indicators of competitive strength in 3 categories—the knowledge economy, globalization, and innovation capacity.

Massachusetts and California stand first and second in the ranking, and Washington State is in the top five, but the median German state outperforms the median U.S. state. Meanwhile, Italy’s median region edges Canada’s median province.

“Governments at all levels are waking up to the fact nations, states, and municipalities need innovation strategies to compete in a global economy that is increasingly driven by knowledge, technology, and innovation,” said Stephen Ezell, vice president of global innovation policy at ITIF, who co-authored the report. “For any developed economy, competitiveness hinges on having a vibrant innovation ecosystem, because innovation drives productivity, growth, and capital investments.”

The index assesses North American and European states’ relative strength on 13 economic indicators divided into three categories:

1. Knowledge economy, with indicators encompassing immigration of knowledge workers; workforce education; professional, scientific, and technical employment; and manufacturing gross value added per worker.

2. Globalization, including inward foreign direct investment and high-tech exports.

3. Innovation capacity, with indicators covering broadband Internet adoption, R&D expenditures, R&D personnel, patents, business creation, decarbonization, and venture capital investment.

Among the study’s findings:

Overall, out of the 96 states represented in the four-country ranking, the top five are: Massachusetts, California, Baden-Württemberg, Berlin, and Washington. The bottom five overall are: Apulia, West Virginia, Sicily, Calabria, and Mississippi.

In the knowledge economy category, the top five states are: Berlin, Hamburg, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Maryland. The bottom five are: Newfoundland and Labrador, Apulia, Mississippi, Calabria, and Sicily.

U.S. states outperform their peers in higher-education attainment, with Massachusetts, Colorado, and New Jersey holding the top three rankings, and in manufacturing labor productivity, where Louisiana, Wyoming, and California are ranked first, second, and third. Canada attracts the most skilled immigrant workers, on average; and Germany exhibits strength in scientific, technical, and professional employment.

In the globalization category, the top five states are: Lombardy, Bavaria, Ontario, Baden-Württemberg, and Hesse. The bottom five are: Saskatchewan, Molise, Montana, Hawaii, Calabria.

Canadian provinces lead in inward foreign direct investment, followed by U.S. states, while German and Italian states produce greater levels of high-tech exports relative to the size of their regional economies.

In the innovation capacity category, the top five states are: Baden-Württemberg, Massachusetts, Washington, California, and Berlin. The bottom five are: South Dakota, Mississippi, Alaska, Louisiana, and West Virginia.

Germany and the United States have clear leadership in research and development (R&D) intensity—with New Mexico, Washington, Massachusetts, and California holding the top four rankings—and in venture capital, where California and Massachusetts are ranked one and two.

The report provides a series of policy recommendations to bolster the innovation competitiveness of enterprises and industries in regional economies. Among the recommendations for federal and state policymakers in the United States, the report advises:

Promote industry-university partnerships that support both R&D and STEM education.

Focus on accelerating international collaborations.

Implement a free trade agreement with the United Kingdom.

Advance high-standard digital trade rules that enable global data flows and limit barriers to cross-border data flows, such as data localization policies.

Ensure the U.S.-Canada-Mexico free trade agreement partners fully adhere to the new stronger digital trade rules.

Fully appropriate the R&D funding elements of the CHIPS and Science Act to follow through with a landmark investment in U.S. innovation and competitiveness.

Increase R&D tax credit generosity.

Use federal investment to build up economic attractiveness for underperforming states.

“Policymakers should take account of unique regional challenges and opportunities to craft region-specific approaches to bolster innovation competitiveness,” said Ezell. “But there are no shortcuts. All of the foundational areas this index examines are important.”

Table 1: The Transatlantic Subnational Innovation Competitiveness Index: Rankings and Scores

Overall
Rank

Region

Country

Overall
Score

Knowledge

Globalization

Capacity

Rank

Score

Rank

Score

Rank

Score

1

Massachusetts

USA

95.1

3

87.4

12

70.7

2

93.2

2

California

USA

86.9

6

77.4

42

43.0

4

91.6

3

Baden-Württemberg

DEU

84.9

19

54.4

4

83.1

1

95.2

4

Berlin

DEU

80.3

1

95.1

46

40.5

5

78.2

5

Washington

USA

80.1

14

61.6

68

29.9

3

92.6

6

Hamburg

DEU

73.5

2

93.5

13

69.4

10

62.2

7

Bavaria

DEU

71.6

20

53.6

2

90.4

6

74.6

8

Hesse

DEU

66.1

15

61.6

5

81.2

8

63.6

9

Maryland

USA

62.8

5

77.4

64

31.3

12

59.6

10

Bremen

DEU

58.9

10

64.5

47

40.2

11

60.5

11

New Jersey

USA

57.9

4

82.3

80

23.5

19

50.5

12

Oregon

USA

57.9

30

46.1

33

49.9

7

65.4

13

Connecticut

USA

54.7

9

65.4

24

56.5

22

47.6

14

Colorado

USA

53.9

12

62.3

21

60.8

20

49.3

15

Delaware

USA

53.0

21

52.4

36

48.3

15

56.4

16

Ontario

CAN

51.9

8

65.4

3

86.5

35

40.3

17

Emilia-Romagna

ITA

50.2

48

35.1

9

74.2

14

56.5

18

New Hampshire

USA

49.9

39

40.5

18

66.3

16

54.1

19

Michigan

USA

49.0

37

40.9

59

34.5

13

57.4

20

North Rhine-Westphalia

DEU

48.6

27

47.1

19

63.5

21

49.2

21

Minnesota

USA

48.6

23

50.9

40

43.9

18

51.1

22

Utah

USA

48.1

31

46.0

38

47.1

17

51.9

23

New York

USA

47.7

16

60.1

35

48.6

31

41.2

24

New Mexico

USA

47.2

51

33.6

70

27.4

9

63.1

25

Virginia

USA

46.1

7

75.2

32

50.1

53

32.4

26

Illinois

USA

45.7

18

58.3

22

58.4

37

40.0

27

Texas

USA

45.6

13

62.1

15

68.3

50

33.3

28

Lombardy

ITA

44.9

35

41.8

1

94.8

33

40.8

29

Lower Saxony

DEU

44.6

33

42.7

39

44.9

23

47.1

30

British Columbia

CAN

44.3

17

58.8

17

66.7

45

36.1

31

Rhineland-Palatinate

DEU

43.7

41

40.0

31

50.4

24

46.6

32

Saxony

DEU

43.3

40

40.4

23

56.6

28

43.6

33

Saarland

DEU

42.1

46

36.0

14

69.4

26

44.2

34

Quebec

CAN

40.6

28

46.8

28

52.8

36

40.2

35

Piedmont

ITA

40.0

63

29.4

6

78.2

27

43.7

36

Lazio

ITA

39.9

29

46.2

44

42.9

30

41.6

37

North Carolina

USA

39.6

24

50.7

82

20.8

40

39.2

38

Pennsylvania

USA

39.1

26

47.2

52

37.9

42

37.6

39

Friuli-Venezia Giulia

ITA

38.2

69

27.2

11

71.1

29

43.2

40

Arizona

USA

37.5

38

40.8

48

39.8

39

39.4

41

Thuringia

DEU

37.1

49

34.2

30

50.8

41

38.7

42

Idaho

USA

36.1

74

24.6

54

36.6

25

46.5

43

Missouri

USA

35.6

47

35.7

8

74.5

52

32.6

44

Wisconsin

USA

35.5

61

29.4

25

56.3

38

39.8

45

Rhode Island

USA

34.9

43

38.0

37

48.1

46

35.6

46

Alberta

CAN

34.6

11

64.4

51

38.6

64

24.1

47

Veneto

ITA

34.4

73

24.7

20

62.1

34

40.5

48

Schleswig-Holstein

DEU

33.4

50

34.2

43

42.9

47

35.0

49

Ohio

USA

32.8

45

37.6

55

36.6

48

33.9

50

Tuscany

ITA

32.2

71

26.7

49

39.7

32

40.8

51

Indiana

USA

30.0

55

32.0

75

24.9

44

36.6

52

Liguria

ITA

29.8

59

30.3

34

48.9

49

33.6

53

Mecklenburg-Vorpommern

DEU

29.8

56

31.7

62

32.5

56

30.4

54

Kansas

USA

29.1

36

41.4

65

31.1

61

27.5

55

Georgia

USA

28.3

34

42.3

79

23.7

59

28.0

56

Florida

USA

27.3

32

43.3

81

23.0

63

24.3

57

Marche

ITA

26.2

85

19.2

63

32.2

43

37.2

58

Abruzzo

ITA

25.6

77

23.6

27

53.6

58

29.7

59

Maine

USA

25.3

64

29.1

7

75.5

84

19.6

60

Vermont

USA

25.1

58

30.5

16

67.5

76

21.3

61

Wyoming

USA

25.0

25

48.7

86

16.0

83

19.8

62

Brandenburg

DEU

24.7

42

39.4

85

16.0

60

27.7

63

Trentino

ITA

24.3

53

32.4

57

35.3

51

32.8

64

Umbria

ITA

23.8

76

23.7

66

30.6

54

31.6

65

Saxony-Anhalt

DEU

23.1

60

29.8

77

24.9

79

20.2

66

Iowa

USA

22.6

68

27.3

83

19.9

57

30.4

67

Tennessee

USA

22.2

52

32.9

72

27.1

70

22.6

68

Nebraska

USA

22.0

44

38.0

74

25.5

80

20.1

69

Kentucky

USA

21.5

78

23.3

10

71.9

85

18.2

70

Nevada

USA

21.1

70

27.2

67

30.6

69

22.7

71

Prince Edward Island

CAN

21.1

81

21.5

26

56.3

67

23.0

72

Manitoba

CAN

21.0

57

31.0

53

37.3

72

21.8

73

Nova Scotia

CAN

21.0

65

28.9

50

38.9

68

22.7

74

North Dakota

USA

18.8

72

26.1

69

29.6

75

21.6

75

South Carolina

USA

18.2

67

28.1

78

23.9

74

21.7

76

Campania

ITA

17.5

90

12.5

84

17.8

55

31.2

77

Louisiana

USA

17.3

22

52.2

87

15.6

95

  8.6

78

Alabama

USA

16.3

75

24.0

91

13.3

65

23.4

79

Aosta Valley

ITA

15.4

84

19.2

76

24.9

71

22.4

80

Montana

USA

15.2

54

32.0

94

  9.4

87

17.2

81

Basilicata

ITA

15.1

87

16.3

41

43.2

78

20.3

82

Oklahoma

USA

14.9

79

23.0

58

35.1

86

17.5

83

New Brunswick

CAN

14.4

80

22.9

60

32.8

88

17.0

84

Newfoundland and Labrador

CAN

13.7

92

12.1

61

32.5

73

21.8

85

Hawaii

USA

13.4

66

28.3

95

  8.9

90

15.0

86

Molise

ITA

13.2

91

12.4

93

13.0

62

25.8

87

Saskatchewan

CAN

12.8

62

29.4

92

13.1

89

15.2

88

Sardinia

ITA

12.2

89

12.8

90

14.6

66

23.1

89

South Dakota

USA

11.9

88

16.1

45

40.8

92

13.4

90

Alaska

USA

11.6

82

20.4

73

26.5

94

11.3

91

Arkansas

USA

9.0

86

17.3

71

27.2

91

14.2

92

Apulia

ITA

8.6

93

  7.7

88

14.9

77

20.8

93

West Virginia

USA

8.2

83

19.3

29

51.5

96

  4.8

94

Sicily

ITA

7.0

96

  4.9

89

14.8

81

20.0

95

Calabria

ITA

5.8

95

  5.2

96

  5.2

82

20.0

96

Mississippi

USA

4.9

94

  6.2

56

36.0

93

11.4

30

Median German state

44.1

37

41.5

31

50.6

24

46.9

47

Median U.S. state

33.8

41

39.3

56

36.3

51

32.9

61

Median Italian region

24.9

77

23.7

53

37.5

53

32.2

72

Median Canadian province

21.1

60

30.2

51

38.8

68

22.8

28

Average German state

50.4

32

49.9

34

53.5

28

51.1

47

Average U.S. state

35.6

44

41.9

53

39.3

51

36.1

60

Average Canadian province

27.5

50

38.1

44

45.6

64

26.2

62

Average Italian region

25.2

73

22.6

52

40.6

51

32.8

Read the report.

Explore a data visualization.

Download the data. (XLSX)

###

The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan research and educational institute focusing on the intersection of technological innovation and public policy. Recognized by its peers in the think tank community as the global center of excellence for science and technology policy, ITIF’s mission is to formulate and promote policy solutions that accelerate innovation and boost productivity to spur growth, opportunity, and progress.

Back to Top