Competitiveness

Innovation, including the diffusion of information technology throughout the economy, is key to boosting productivity, which in turn is at the heart of increasing living standards.

Assailing Corporations is a Poor Competitiveness Strategy

May 20, 2013
| Blogs & Op-eds

America is in a global race for innovation advantage and policy makers around the world are enacting forward-thinking policies to make their nations more attractive for global investment. Unfortunately, instead of focusing on the reforms the U.S. needs to keep pace, some policymakers focus on blaming corporations for choosing to move jobs offshore or legally deferring foreign profits to reduce their tax burden. Blame is not a strategy. Shame is not a policy. Instead of berating U.S. companies for being unpatriotic, Congress would be better advised to put in place the comprehensive changes needed to make the U.S. economy more competitive.

The Real Story on Guestworkers in the High-skill U.S. Labor Market

May 16, 2013
| Reports

Recently, the Economic Policy Institute issued a report claiming that there is no shortage of U.S. STEM workers and that increases in high-skill immigration are not needed and detrimental to the U.S. economy. In this report, ITIF presents a detailed rebuttal of the EPI analysis to provide a more accurate picture of the high skill labor market. We find that the EPI report's conclusions are simply not supported by the evidence. In fact, the U.S. does not produce enough STEM workers domestically, STEM wages and jobs have grown significantly over the last decade, and high-skill guestworkers are a complement, not a substitute, to American high-skill labor.

Expansion of NNMI Will Enhance Economic Growth and Improve U.S. Competitiveness

Policy Recommendations for the 2013 America COMPETES Act Reauthorization

May 7, 2013 - 9:00am - 10:30am
Russell Senate Office Building
Constitution Avenue and 1st Street NE
253
Washington
DC
20002

The America COMPETES Act has played an important role in enhancing the science, technology, and innovation enterprise that underpins U.S. economic growth. Read more »

Congresswoman Anna Eshoo Joins ITIF Board of Directors as Honorary Co-Chair

WASHINGTON (May 3, 2013) - The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) has announced that Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA, 18th District) will serve as the new Honorary Co-Chair of the organization's Board of Directors. Rep. Eshoo replaces Congressman Ron Kind (D-WI, 3rd District) who was recently named chair of the New Democratic Coalition. Read more »

Congress should reallocate NSF monies to areas with stronger national economic impacts.

It’s time to clearly recognize that certain research programs the National Science Foundation supports are much more important to our country’s economic well-being and competitiveness than others, and explicitly take this into account when making budgetary allocation decisions. Therefore, Congress should direct, and the Administration should implement, a reallocation of NSF resources toward the kinds of science that has direct economic and industrial benefits for the United States. In particular, this means increasing NSF budgets for four key Directorates: 1) Math and physical sciences; 2) Engineering; 3) Computer and information sciences and engineering (CISE); and 4) Biological sciences, while permitting research budgets for the geosciences and social sciences to shrink. This is not a call to shrink basic science funding (indeed it should be increased), but it is a call to explicitly reorient it in such a way that best promotes U.S. national innovation-based economic competitiveness and the jobs and economic growth that stem from this.

Change the name of the National Science Foundation to the National Science and Engineering Foundation.

If Congress wants to take a step short of standing up a new National Engineering and Innovation Foundation, then at the very least Congress should change the name of the National Science Foundation to the National Science and Engineering Foundation. Doing so would make it clear to NSF leadership and the research community that NSF should give engineering more emphasis and visibility. And Congress should shift more of the new NSEF’s funding toward engineering, even if this has to mean cutting science funding.

Congress should create a National Engineering and Innovation Foundation alongside NSF.

Investments in science create new knowledge that is freely traded around the world, but it’s the application of that knowledge (e.g., engineering) that creates wealth through new products and processes. U.S. federal R&D dollars for basic science generate knowledge that is essentially a non-rival, non-appropriable public good that can be quickly picked up and leveraged by foreign competitors, explaining why many nations invest much less in basic research and more in applied. Unfortunately, the United States invests significantly more in scientific research than it does in engineering. Of the total federal research investments in science and engineering in 2008, approximately 1/7th was allocated to engineering development and 6/7th to the various scientific fields. It’s time to raise the profile of engineering within our national innovation system. While NSF supports phenomenal work, its central purpose is belied by its title. NSF’s primary mission is funding scientific research, its engineering support programs get shorter shrift. Therefore, Congress should create a National Engineering and Innovation Foundation as a separate entity operating alongside the National Science Foundation. The new National Engineering and Innovation Foundation would consolidate the current Engineering Directorate within NSF including the ERC and I/UCRC programs, the functional parts of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Department of Defense’s Manufacturing Technology (ManTech) program, and the Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing office into a single entity with an engineering focus.

Congress should create a Deputy Director for Economic Growth and Innovation Position at NSF.

The National Science Foundation needs more resources devoted to assessing the agency’s impact on economic growth and innovation. Accordingly, NSF should create a new position for a Deputy Director of Economic Growth and Innovation. The position should be filled by an individual with professional competence in understanding the design of innovative systems, building rapid learning data systems, linking creative ideas from all disciplines, and organizing needed advisory committees. The Deputy Director should look to articulate policies that can accelerate recovery and sustain a GDP/per capita growth rate that is at least one percent above the pre-crash baseline.

Congress should allow government labs to take an equity stake in start-ups.

A significant barrier to government labs partnering with industry is that small businesses and start-ups often are not capable of working with the labs due to the cost of procuring lab expertise and access to facilities. Yet, in many cases, even a small amount of lab interaction with a small business or start-up could greatly impact a nascent company’s growth and could be the deciding factor between a start-up failing or not. Congress could ameliorate this issue by providing the labs with the ability to take an equity stake in a start-up that is interested in utilizing lab infrastructure to advance development of its proprietary technology. One option would be to allow federal labs to trade use of lab research infrastructure for a small equity stake in start-ups under the strictest of transparency. This would be the equivalent of providing advanced lab services in lieu of payment and, in return, the labs would receive royalties once start-ups advance into the market at very little, if any, risk to the taxpayers.