About the Fact of the Week
Each week, ITIF publishes a fact about innovation in our newsletter. Here you will find an archive of previously featured facts.
Featured Fact of the Week
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10 Most Popular Facts
1. China's engineering degrees were about 10 times the U.S. number and represented a much higher share of all bachelor's degrees (30%) than in the United States (5%).
China awarded 300,000 bachelor's degrees in the natural sciences and 700,000 in engineering-together representing 43% of its 2.3 million total in 2008. China's engineering degrees were about 10 times the U.S. number and represented a much higher share of all bachelor's degrees (30%) than in the United States (5%). The gap in education in STEM fields from U.S. to China is only growing...
A 2013 McKinsey Global Institute report estimated that open data could add over $3 trillion in total value annually to the education, transportation, consumer products, electricity, oil and gas, health care and consumer finance sectors worldwide. Open data can be used to drive innovation within and beyond the organization that created it because it allows other organizations to make use of...
Sweden, Denmark and Finland finished first, third and fourth respectively in the Innovation Union Scoreboard 2013, a ranking of innovation performance of EU member nations. Over the last decade the Nordic nations have made great strides in improving innovation capacity and economic competitiveness. They have accomplished these goals through well-organized national innovation systems that...
4. China has increased its solar PV global export market share from 2% in 2000 to 54% by 2011, even though U.S. solar PV are 5% more cost competitive than Chinese products before subsidies.
From 2000 to 2011, China increased its global solar PV export market share from 2 percent to 54 percent. This remarkable export growth, in addition to significant deployment subsidies in the United States, has helped solar PV costs decrease 75 percent in the last 10 years. But what’s the character of that cost decline? According to a recent McKinsey study a...
5. If the United States were able to close the gap between its educational achievement levels and those of better-performing nations such as Finland and Korea, U.S. GDP could be as much as $1.3 trillion to $2.3 trillion higher.
A series of McKinsey Global Institute reports find that a lack of innovation and productivity growth in four critical sectors--education, health care, government, and national infrastructure--are holding back broader economic growth. McKinsey's 2009 report, The Economic Impact of the Achievement Gap in America's Schools, finds that the educational achievement gap between the United States and its...
6. If current R&D investment continues at the current level, the R&D investment deficit will grow to $2.6 trillion by 2021.
If federal R&D investment had been sustained at the 1960-1980 level, in terms of an average share of GDP, these investments would be approaching $230 billion annually today, rather than the current levels of roughly $150 billion. Our robust investment in R&D in the 1960s, 70s and 80s fueled our post-war prosperity and helped set the stage for the IT revolution, advances in biotech and...
7. Germany invests 20 times more, as a share of GDP, in industrially-relevant research and development than the U.S.
Germany has adopted an overall innovation stratergy in recent years which explains why Germany has weathered the Great Recession better than the United States. Germany decided to bring government and private companies together to proactively restructure its manufacturing base instead of waiting for market forces to magically arrest the decline. The German companies that are succeeding in the...
The United States' last trade surplus was in 1975, when Gerald Ford was President, "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" won best picture, and toy rocks were a thing. Since then, the United States has racked up a 9.5 trillion dollar trade imbalance. America's nasty habit of consuming more than it produces will have serious consequences when the debt is called in. The United States needs to make sure...
9. In 2012, overall productivity rates in India stood at just 10 percent of U.S. levels and significantly trailed those of most peer developing countries, including Brazil, Russia, China, and Malaysia.
Productivity is a central measure of the innovation and technical capacity of a nation and has a direct impact on the ability to compete in the increasingly high tech, global marketplace. India should abandon its current focus on innovation mercantilist policies and adopt a pro-growth strategy that can raise across the board productivity and enhance innovation-based competitiveness. This is the...
10. The United States will allocate $252 billion for debt service, interest payment on the national debt, in 2015, as compared to the president's request for $135.4 billion in funding for federal R&D programs in 2015.
If these allocations hold, the United States will spend 46% more on debt service than it invests in R&D in 2015. This highlights the squeezing out of non-discretionary expenditures (i.e., investments in the core building blocks of innovation) by non-discretionary spending (i.e., mandatory expenditures such as for entitlements or debt service). Under the 2015 Budget Request, discretionary...