The Entrepreneurial State




The Financial Times listed it as one of the
Books of the Year


“It is one of the most incisive economic books in years.”
The New York Review of Books


The Huffington Post listed it as one of their
Favorite Books of 2013


Forbes listed it among the
13 Recommended Readings for Creative Leaders to Close Out 2013


Times Higher Education listed it as one of their
Books of 2013

The book explores the leading role that the State has played in generating innovation and economic growth in modern capitalism. In detailed case studies of the investments that led to the IT revolution, the biotech revolution, and the emerging ‘green’ revolution, it highlights the entrepreneurial—risk taking— investments that global public agencies have made along the entire innovation chain before the private sector invested. In doing so it debunks the common myth of the State as a large slow bureaucratic organization contrasted with the dynamic private sector. Far from the often heard criticisms of the State potentially ‘crowding out’ private investments, bold mission-oriented public investments (amongst decentralized public actors), not only fixed markets but also actively shaped and created them.

The book argues that ignoring this reality only serves ideological ends, and puts both innovation and inclusive growth at risk. After describing all the public investments that made all the technologies behind the iPhone possible (internet, GPS, touch-screen display, Siri), the author asks a key question about the distribution of risks and rewards: Who will fund the next technological wave, if companies like Apple and Google pay so little tax, why do we socialize the risks and not the rewards?

Watch the TEDGlobal talk:

Mariana Mazzucato named one of the Most Important Thinkers About Innovation You Need To Know by New Republic

New York Times editorial on The Entrepreneurial StateAmerica’s Underappreciated Entrepreneur: The Federal Government

Read Professor Mazzucato’s latest articles:
‘Wired’: ‘Don’t knock tax — it gave us the iPhone’

‘The Financial Times’: Why innovation needs the help of an active state
‘Slate’: ‘It’s a Myth That Entrepreneurs Drive New Technology’

‘Conventional economics offers abstract models; conventional wisdom insists that the answer lies with private entrepreneurship. In this brilliant book, Mariana Mazzucato, a Sussex University professor of economics who specialises in science and technology, argues that the former is useless and the latter incomplete. Yes, innovation depends on bold entrepreneurship. But the entity that takes the boldest risks and achieves the biggest breakthroughs is not the private sector; it is the much-maligned state.… This book has a controversial thesis. But it is basically right. The failure to recognise the role of the government in driving innovation may well be the greatest threat to rising prosperity.’
Financial Times

‘Ms Mazzucato is right to argue that the state has played a central role in producing game-changing breakthroughs, and that its contribution to the success of technology-based businesses should not be underestimated. She is also right to point out that the “profligate” countries that are suffering the most from the current crisis (such as Greece and Italy) are those that have spent the least on R&D and education. There are many reasons why policymakers must modernise the state and bring entitlements under control. But one of the most important is that a well-run state is a vital part of a successful innovation system.’
The Economist

‘Mazzucato warns that the perception of government impotence in innovation can be self-fulfilling. Uncertainty in policy is a recipe for failure. Government is most effective when it acts with confidence, as evidenced in places such as China and Brazil, which have successfully developed technologies for the anticipated ‘green revolution’ with the help of state aid.’

‘["The Entrepreneurial State"] provides persuasive evidence that governments deserve more credit than private companies for the development of most important modern technologies.’

‘Mazzucato is most interested in refuting the accusation that the “dead hand of the state” inevitably slows down economic growth. Rather, the relationship is mutually beneficial. If political leaders and voters accepted her analysis, governments would fund more imaginative research, and Apple’s profit would be more heavily taxed.’
Global Times

‘Broad circulation of Mazzucato’s book will help enormously to debunk the dangerous dogmas that continue to exercise undue influence both in the U.S. and abroad.’
Yahoo! Finance

‘”The Entrepreneurial State”… is a meticulously argued treatise that shows how unwise our conventional wisdom has become.’

‘[Mazzucato] offers a forensic analysis of how the state is prime investor and creator of most great innovations…’

‘The state, [Mazzucato] argued, is a “market maker,” whose ability to take bold, risky bets is critical for economies to grow at the global cutting edge.’
New York Times

‘Her recently published book, The Entrepreneurial State, has been favourably reviewed in the Economist and the Financial Times, widely debated in Britain, and certainly deserves the attention of Canadians as we consider how best to build a modern, innovative, environmentally sustainable economy.’
The Globe and Mail

Professor Mazzucato on CNNMoney:


LATEST: German language rights have been acquired by Munich-based
Verlag Antje Kunstmann


Past Events

Book Launch



Read a Sample Excerpt

‘This is a book whose time has come. Mariana Mazzucato documents how the state played a crucial role behind some of the landmark innovations of our time. For many, the “entrepreneurial state” is a contradiction in terms. For Mazzucato, it is both a reality and a requirement for future prosperity.’

—Dani Rodrik, Rafiq Hariri Professor of International Political Economy, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

‘The principal entrepreneurial drive that has given us many of today’s most important technologies has come from the state. Most thinking and arguing regarding how to energize our sluggish economies is blind to this fact. Mariana Mazzucato’s book aims to get us to understand better the sources of entrepreneurship, and to reflect more positively on the role aggressive technology policies can play in getting our economies moving again.’

—Richard Nelson, George Blumenthal Professor of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University

‘“The Entrepreneurial State” delivers a well-researched and elegantly (even entertainingly) written knock-out to the belief across most of the political spectrum and the economics profession that (with some qualifications) “the market knows best”. As many governments wonder how to boost the productivity and innovativeness of their industrial sectors, this book provides guidelines – based on successful and unsuccessful cases – on how to do industrial policy well. Above all, it shows why the common presumption that the state “crowds out” the private sector – as though the private sector is a lion caged by a smothering state – is contradicted by what governments of economies from the United States to Brazil and China actually do to “crowd in” innovations in the private sector.’

—Robert Wade, Professor of Political Economy and Development, London School of Economics