Universities and the Entrepreneurial State: Politics and Policy and a New Wave of State-Based Economic Initiatives


The convergence of US federal science and economic policy that began in earnest in the Reagan administration formed the first stage in an emerging post-Cold War drive toward technological innovation. A frenzy of new state-based initiatives now forms the Second Stage, further promoting universities as decisive tools for economic competitiveness. State governments have largely become the political environment in which new policy ideas are emerging, influenced by a sense of increased competition among states and other international economies for economic growth. The paper outlines the characteristics of this Second Stage, and offers short case studies of two influential HT initiatives in California--a leading HT state. Among the author's conclusions: HT economic activity is already relatively widespread among the various states (more so than perhaps previously thought); leading HT states rely heavily on their university sectors and a highly educated workforce, yet are increasingly importing talent and neglecting investment in the education and skills of their native populations; the long-term commitment of states to financially support the frenzy of HT initiatives is unclear; and state initiatives are rationalized by lawmakers as filling a need not currently met by the private sector or universities and, in part, as a response to a sense of competition between states, and thus far with only a minor concern for global competition. As this paper explores, the politics of HT — including the focus on university-industry collaboration and neo-conservative religious/moral controversies over stem cell research — is a significant factor for understanding how and why most states are pursuing the Second Stage

Publication date: 
September 3, 2006
Publication type: 
Research and Occasional Papers Series (ROPS)
Universities and the Entrepreneurial State: Politics and Policy and a New Wave of State-Based Economic Initiatives. John Aubrey Douglass. CSHE.14.06. (September 2006)