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Photo by Tyler Casey on Unsplash

By Martha McPherson and Kate Roll

A t UCL’s recent Beyond Boundaries conference on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, listeners may have been surprised to hear panelists refer to this as a “1968 moment” for the SDGs. With Covid and widespread economic hardship on the front pages, are we really likely to see new enthusiasm for the 17 goals, which were universally adopted in 2015?

But perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. …


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By Luca Kühn von Burgsdorff

This blog is a contribution from one of IIPP’s Master of Public Administration (MPA) students. To find out more about the course, click here.

It’s not often that you find yourself studying at an institute that boasts the likes of Mariana Mazzucato, Tim O’Reilly, and Hilary Cottam. All three are pathfinders and pioneers, pushing the boundaries of ideas and actions in their respective realms of expertise — be it economics, innovation, or social entrepreneurship.

The UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP) is, however, more than just a congregation of high-profile academics and practitioners. It’s a movement, and as with any notable movement IIPP does three things particularly well. Firstly, it offers a convincing critique of how things are being done and a radical vision of what can be done better. Secondly, IIPP has actively and organically added a wealth of experienced thinkers and doers into its ranks. Lastly, it has cultivated an expansive and strategic network of institutions and governments to work alongside and apply its new and provocative ideas. …


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By Rowan Conway

A s part of an ongoing partnership between the UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP) and the OECD’s Observatory of Public Sector Innovation (OPSI), we hosted an online immersive workshop on 2 December 2020 to explore the challenges and opportunities of directing mission-oriented innovation in practice.

The event brought together leaders from across a range of government institutions in OECD countries and from the IIPP MOIN network. Over 150 civil servants, economists, business leaders and policymakers from 36 countries took part, including: Brazil, Malaysia, Czech Republic, Thailand, Italy, South Africa, Canada, Spain, Denmark, Estonia, Austria, Australia, Latvia, Greece, Hungary, Belgium, Netherlands, Ireland, Bangladesh, France, Norway, Chile, Portugal, Paraguay, Turkey, Sweden, Slovenia, Vietnam, Malta, Finland, Poland, Korea, United Arab Emirates, USA, Japan and UK. …


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Photo by Micheile Henderson on Unsplash

By Dag Detter, Stefan Folster and Josh Ryan-Collins

O n Wednesday, the UK Chancellor will most likely freeze public sector pay and raise taxes in his spending review as the Treasury seeks to improve the state of the public finances after spending more than £200bn on the Covid crisis.

But might there be a better way of dealing with the ongoing economic costs of the pandemic? In a new IIPP report we argue that the government should consider taking equity stakes in firms at risk of collapse to boost a sustainable recovery. …


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Photo by Sungrow EMEA on Unsplash

By Carlota Perez and Andres Schafer

This is the third instalment in the authors’ ‘After the pandemic’ series. The first and second essays in the series can be read here and here.

I s fairness necessary now? Nobody would seriously defend an unfair system, but the apostles of unfettered free markets and government austerity prefer to ignore the devastating consequences of their prescriptions as if these were like the weather: inevitable and out of our control.

In the first months of the 2007 subprime mortgage crisis, the proposal to bail out troubled homeowners was swept off the table alleging ‘moral hazard’, even though such a decision could have led to a robust recovery after the crisis. With the same sweep of the hand, taxpayer money went instead to the coffers of the banks that had been part of the real estate sting, creating real moral hazard and leading to the long stock market boom from 2009–2018, which intensified wealth differentiation.


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Photo by Marcin Jozwiak on Unsplash

By June Sekera

From wildfires to tycoons, 2020 has witnessed another wave of extreme weather events. As the visible impacts of climate change continue to mount, calls for “carbon dioxide removal” are escalating.

Governments are being called upon to act. Many climatologists are urging steps to enhance biological methods of carbon sequestration. Market actors in energy and other sectors have launched business ventures in industrial–chemical carbon dioxide removal, and have sought government financing for their methods.

Given the growing drumbeat for government action, what is government’s role and how can public decision-makers know which methods work and which don’t?

In a recently published paper, I and my collaborator from The New School for Social Research, Andreas Lichtenberger, review the scientific and technical literature on carbon dioxide removal, as well as public reporting and legislative activity. Our examination of the scientific literature used a novel approach. We constructed a lens of “collective biophysical need,” which joins public purpose and biophysical dynamics. Using this approach, we found that governments are subsidizing industrial-chemical methods of carbon removal that are counterproductive from both a biophysical and a public purpose perspective. …


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Photo by Ansgar Scheffold on Unsplash

By Rainer Kattel, Mariana Mazzucato, Keno Haverkamp and Josh Ryan-Collins

Germany is stepping into a new era. Its overarching economic policy framework of the past decades relied ostensibly on ordoliberal principles, which see the role of the state as making sure policy conditions enable markets to function properly. In this view, the state should fix market failures and leave the rest to industry.

However, recent strategic initiatives seek to go beyond market-fixing and lay groundworks for a more activist state. …


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Photo by Ansgar Scheffold on Unsplash

By Daniel Wainwright

This blog is a contribution from one of IIPP’s Master of Public Administration (MPA) students. To find out more about the course, click here.

n the first few Prime Minister’s Questions after Keir Starmer became Leader of the Opposition, Boris Johnson seemed to be struggling. But on June 17th, he found a new line of attack: Starmer’s refusal to say once and for all that he was in favour of reopening schools was because he had a “great ox [of the education unions] stood upon his tongue.”

Never mind that the Government’s own plan for schools eventually had to be shelved — the problem was the unions. In the same week, Angela Merkel announced that schools in Germany, which had been closed only a week longer than in the UK, would be reopening. …


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Photo by William McCue on Unsplash

By Francesca Froy and George Dibb

Despite receiving lukewarm support from the current government, the UK’s Industrial Strategy remains an important reference-point for many as our economy suffers from the double-insecurity of approaching Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic.

An important part of the Strategy has been its local dimension, with Combined Authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships being tasked in 2017 to develop their own local industrial strategies, in line with overall national Government objectives. Greater Manchester and the Liverpool City Region have recently revisited and adjusted theirs in the light of the Covid-19 crisis.

Did it make sense to embark on local industrial strategies?

Now we have some hindsight, has it made sense to develop different industrial strategies for different places in the UK? What have such strategies focused upon? Have there been challenges to their development and implementation? This is the subject of a new Special Edition of the journal Local Economy edited by Francesca Froy and Andrew Jones. …


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Photo by Tom Rumble on Unsplash

By Charles McIvor

This blog is a contribution from one of IIPP’s Master of Public Administration (MPA) students based on one of their assignments. To find out more about the course, click here.

A s COVID-19 continues to put pressure on economies around the world, governments and central banks are seeking new ways to encourage investment in the ‘real economy’ as part of the recovery efforts. However, unless investments are structured effectively, the support that they provide could be wasted on investments in real estate rather than tackling inequality, boosting innovation, or creating more sustainable economic recovery.

How does mortgage debt affect investment?

High house prices can limit investment in the rest of the economy. When house prices increase faster than wages do, mortgages can bridge the gap and help people buy a home. If people spend more on housing, they have less in their pockets to spend in the rest of the economy. …

About

UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose

Changing how public value is imagined, practiced and evaluated to tackle societal challenges | Director: Mariana Mazzucato | Deputy Director: Rainer Kattel

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