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Innovation policies to boost productivity

June 17, 2020

The Problem 

Productivity growth is flat, government research and development (R&D) spending has fallen, and wage inequality has risen. Meanwhile, the United States and the world face severe and numerous challenges.  

The Proposal 

John Van Reenen of MIT and the Sloan School of Management proposes an ambitious Grand Innovation Challenge Fund that would increase U.S. spending on R&D.  

  • Implement a permanent Grand Innovation Challenge Fund that would direct research towards central concerns such as pandemics, climate change, or other problems where science and technology are crucial. 
  • The Fund would be distributed across a portfolio of research-based innovation policies, including R&D grants, tax credits, STEM workforce investments, and policies that would promote innovation among underrepresented. 
  • The Fund would increase support for innovation by half a percent of GDP—or about $100 billion a year.  


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