Innovation Files

October 22, 2018
Over the last decade, mobile money services have brought banking to populations that have lacked formal financial services by allowing users to manage money on their mobile phones. First launched in Kenya in 2007, 96 percent of Kenyan households now use mobile money and can withdraw funds in physical currency from 110,000 agents across the country.
October 15, 2018
Policymakers tend to give an outsized share of attention and credit to small businesses, touting their role in entrepreneurship, but in doing so they often conflate small businesses with new businesses. Start-ups are important for their contributions to creative destruction and innovation, but small businesses are less efficient because they cannot take advantages of economies of scale.
October 12, 2018
Congress has taken proactive steps for both drones and supersonic flight with the FAA Reauthorization Act, enabling these U.S. industries to remain competitive and aerospace innovation to proceed apace writes Alan McQuinn in Innovation Files.
October 9, 2018
The Chinese government funds an exceptionally large amount of R&D, with direct government subsidies accounting for a quarter of the country’s total R&D spending in 2015. As such, how well the government allocates those funds plays an outsized role in determining how innovative the nation can be.
October 1, 2018
As computing continues to become more integral to the way society operates, the education system will have to better equip students with the skills they will need to thrive. If computer science is only offered in college, then those who don’t attend college will be locked out of a crucial segment of the economy and fewer college students will be prepared to study computer science when they arrive.
September 24, 2018
Large bodies of research have established that firms can benefit from the spillover effects of innovation by other firms and universities, but significantly less is known about the extent to which firms benefit from R&D conducted by governments outside of academia. This year, the U.S. government launched the Unleashing American Innovation initiative, attempting to maximize private use of public research, which a new paper indicates is badly needed.
September 24, 2018
Much of what people assume to be true about big business is completely wrong. Rob Atkinson and Michael Lind cover five of the most egregious examples in this Innovation Files post.
September 17, 2018
Given that the modern economy tends to be described as globalized and that recent policy debates have been centered on whether globalization has been good at all, it is easy to overlook how much more integrated the world could become and the good that course could bring. Through artificial intelligence, one of the largest barriers to globalization that still exists, language, is beginning to crumble.
September 12, 2018
The lesson for EU policymakers is clear: do not get seduced by the idea that stringent privacy regulation is a shortcut for digital growth. Enacting even stricter data protection rules, such as the pending ePrivacy Regulation, will come with costs that will hurt not only the EU digital ecosystem but also EU digital consumers.
September 10, 2018
Federal funding of private R&D comes in two forms: grants, in which the government has very little interaction with the research decisions made, and cooperative agreements, in which the government has significant control over research decisions and much more detailed project monitoring. Whether this higher level of government involvement hinders researchers by increasing bureaucracy or ensures that funding is not misallocated is hotly contested, but a paper released in June gives reason to believe that cooperative agreements are used well.

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