Title

Industrial Policy and the New Economy: The Political Economy of High-Tech Development in the United States (1970-2015)

Publication Date

April 2016

Advisor(s)

Marc Eisner

Major

Government

Language

English (United States)

Abstract

In the 1970s, a group of US policymakers hoped to wield a new and protean idea, industrial policy, to solve the crises of stagflation and deindustrialization. These individuals failed to do so because they attempted to impose the coordinated market economy model of Japan onto the liberal market economy of the US. In their stead, a group of pragmatic state-level policymakers generated their own set of industrial policies focused on the commercialization of innovative technologies. This model “trickled-up” from the states to form a decentralized substrate of federal and state-level technology policies that fit the nation’s particular political-institutional context. This substrate has proven effective of leveraging networks to facilitate technology development in the decentralized “post-Fordist” new economy. I argue that these policies’ reliance on non-market strategic cooperation and the public provision of patient capital to small, innovative firms signal a significant deviation from the traditional understanding of the US liberal market model. However, this deviation has not proven sufficient to take the US off it’s “low-road” path that has resulted in inequitable growth and wage stagnation since the 1970s. Even still, the presence of subnational deviations from the traditional liberal market model of capitalism in the US indicates that there may be varieties of capitalism between and among the American states.

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