ITIF Conference: Innovation Economics for the Next Administration

The Newseum
Washington, DC
September 25, 2008

As 2009 approaches with a new administration to take office, questions as to how to spur innovation and economic growth will by necessity loom large on the policy agenda. Nonetheless, fresh thinking about how to craft an innovation-based economic policy, what innovation policies to implement and how to implement them effectively are in short supply. In part this is because the doctrines guiding economic policy makers continue to be informed by 20th century conceptualizations, models and theories. Without an economic theory and doctrine that matches the new realities, it will be harder for policy makers to take the steps that will most effectively foster growth.

Fortunately within the last decade a new theory and narrative of economic growth grounded in innovation has emerged. This new "innovation economics" reformulates the traditional economic growth model so that knowledge, technology, entrepreneurship, and innovation are now positioned at the center, rather than seen as forces that operate independently.

In this conference, ITIF and Silicon Flatirons will set forth both the conceptual framework and a set of specific policy proposals to raise the level of debate.

8:30 AM Breakfast and Coffee

9:00 AM Welcome: Honorable Nancy Johnson, Baker Donelson and co-chair, ITIF

9:10 AM Innovation Economics as the 21st Century Economic Doctrine:
A major reason why innovation policy has up to now gotten short shrift in Washington is because the dominant economic policy models advocated by most economic advisors and implicitly held by most policy makers largely ignore innovation and technology-led growth, in favor of either tax cuts on individuals, budget surpluses, or social spending. In contrast, the emerging doctrine of "innovation economics" recognizes that the new realities of a global, knowledge-based economy require a new approach to national economic policy based less on capital accumulation, budget surpluses, or social spending and more on smart support for the building blocks of private sector growth and innovation. This session will examine the limitations of the current two economic doctrines (neo-classical and neo-Keynesian) and lay out the framework of innovation economics and examine the implications for national economic policy.


Rob Atkinson, President, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.


Michael Mandel, Chief Economist, BusinessWeek.

David Audretsch, Director of the Institute for Development Strategies at Indiana University and ranked as one of 60 most important economists of all time.

Richard Lipsey, Professor Emeritus of Economics at Simon Fraser University, and author of the award winning book, Economic Transformations: General Purpose Technologies and Long Term Growth.

10:05 AM IT and Telecom Policy Models of Governance and Policy Strategies:
Policymakers often consider policy issues related to the information industries (and the transition to a digital economy) in isolation from one another and often do so without emphasizing the significance of innovation. Rarely, for example, will policymakers consider in tandem the role of broadband policy, intellectual property reform, antitrust law, and the role of government support for science and technology research. This panel will bring together a group of leading academics and former and current policymakers to do just that.

Phil Weiser, Director of Silicon Flatirons Center and Professor of Law, University of Colorado.


Pierre de Vries, Research Fellow, Economic Policy Research Center, University of Washington; and former Chief of Incubation at Microsoft.

Michael Katz; Sarin Chair in Strategy and Leadership, Haas School of Business, U.C.Berkeley, Professor, Department of Economics, and Director, Center for Telecommunications and Digital Convergence.

Jonathan Baker, Professor of Law at American University's Washington College of Law.

11:00 AM Break

11:15 AM Proposals for Innovation Policy


Clive Crook, economics columnist National Journal and chief Washington Commentator Financial Times.


Robert Atkinson

Phil Weiser


Ron Blackwell, the chief economist at the AFL-CIO.

Kathleen Wallman, President, Wallman Consulting and former chief of the Common Carrier Bureau at the FCC and Deputy Director of the National Economic Council.

Bruce Mehlman, Partner, Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti and former Assistant Secretary of the Commerce for Technology Policy.

Ray Gifford, Head of Communications, Internet and Intellectual Property practice at Kamlet Shepard and former President of the Progressive and Freedom Foundation.

12:15 PM Closing Remarks

Cal Dooley, President and CEO, The Grocery Manufacturers/Food Products Association, and co-chair ITIF.

ITIF is a non-profit, 501(c)(3), non-partisan public policy think tank committed to articulating and advancing a pro-productivity, pro-innovation and pro-technology public policy agenda internationally, in Washington and the states. Recognizing the vital role of technology in ensuring prosperity, ITIF focuses on innovation, productivity, and digital economy issues.