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Viktor Lázár / Ian Clay / Stephen Ezell / Shelby Lauter / Axel Plünnecke / Stefano da Empoli / Lorenzo Principali / Michele Masulli / Aaron Wudrick Expertise 14. November 2022 The Transatlantic Subnational Innovation Competitiveness Index

Innovation ecosystems are increasingly complex and diverse, but there are common markers of core strength. In this report, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, the German Economic Institute, the Institute for Competitiveness, and the Macdonald-Laurier Institute benchmark 96 states and provinces across Germany, Italy, the United States, and Canada.

The Transatlantic Subnational Innovation Competitiveness Index
Viktor Lázár / Ian Clay / Stephen Ezell / Shelby Lauter / Axel Plünnecke / Stefano da Empoli / Lorenzo Principali / Michele Masulli / Aaron Wudrick Expertise 14. November 2022

The Transatlantic Subnational Innovation Competitiveness Index

Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (Hrsg.)

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German Economic Institute (IW) German Economic Institute (IW)

Innovation ecosystems are increasingly complex and diverse, but there are common markers of core strength. In this report, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, the German Economic Institute, the Institute for Competitiveness, and the Macdonald-Laurier Institute benchmark 96 states and provinces across Germany, Italy, the United States, and Canada.

Governments – at federal, state, and even regional and city levels—are realizing that they must develop innovation strategies to compete in an increasingly knowledge-, technology-, and innovation-driven global economy. Improving both national- and state-level innovation competitiveness entails governments fostering advanced industries and incentivizing the activities that lead to technological progress, such as R&D and making investments in productivity-enhancing technologies. Such strategies are becoming more common, as exemplified by Germany’s “Industry 4.0” (2011) and China’s “Made in China 2025” (2015) as well as the United States’ passage of the CHIPS and Science Act this July (2022).

As countries develop economically, they are less able to rely on simple “catch-up” growth strategies such as technology absorption from more-developed countries. While ITIF encourages further investments in advanced capital equipment (e.g., industrial robots for manufacturing), economies at the technological frontier must also be able to design and develop new technologies, products, and processes to boost productivity, the ultimate source of long-term economic growth. Rather than being “Manna from Heaven” beyond the control of economic actors, innovation-driven productivity growth is something governments and society can and should actively promote.

This report builds on its predecessor, the North American Subnational Innovation Competitiveness Index (NASICI), using 13 commonly available indicators to compare the innovative capacity and global competitiveness of the states and provinces of Canada, Germany, Italy, and the United States. The report’s goal is to provide policymakers with a comparative and evaluative tool to better understand where their states rank among peers in terms of innovation capacity as well as how they can improve.1 As in the predecessor of this report, Massachusetts ranks first among the 96 states evaluated, thanks to its world-leading network of universities, highly educated population, and concentration of biotechnology and other advanced-industry firms. Although Massachusetts holds the top spot and California comes in second, Germany generally outperforms the United States. The overall score of the median German state across all indicators is 45.3, while that of the median U.S. state is 33.9. Germany claims the second-best-performing state in Baden-Württemberg, home to companies such as Mercedes-Benz and SAP, as well as 4 others in the top 10. Though Canada’s best-performing province (Ontario) scores higher than Italy’s (Emilia-Romagna), and Canada’s worst-performing province (Saskatchewan) scores better than Italy’s (Calabria), the median Italian state actually outperforms the median Canadian province. Canada’s particular weaknesses lie in measures of R&D activity, carbon efficiency of production, business creation, and high-tech exports relative to GDP.

One persistent trend is the disparity in performance among regions in Canada, Germany, Italy, and, to a lesser extent, the United States. Germany’s best performers on almost all indicators can be found in the south and west of the country (with Berlin as a common exception), while this is true as well for Italy’s northern regions. Innovative activity in Canada is concentrated in British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec (as is Canada’s population and economic activity in general). The United States’ best performers tend to be found along the east and west coasts, though for many indicators, states in the middle of the country score very well (e.g., New Mexico scores highly in R&D intensity and personnel and Nevada in business creation).

The report contends that Germany should sustain its leadership by increasing investment in its education system and supporting businesses in adopting digital technologies and increasing R&D expenditures. Canada should incentivize greater R&D investment, attract technology-intensive FDI, boost productivity, and invest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education to support employment in advanced-technology industries. Italy should work to expand access to higher education and attract more VC and FDI. The United States should increase its R&D tax credit, bolster science and R&D funding, and reconsider immigration policies in high-demand professions to help accelerate technology innovation and adoption by firms in all states.

After a brief introduction, the report proceeds by delving into overall findings before turning to an analysis of how states in the four countries perform in each of the 13 indicators across the three high-level categories of knowledge economy, globalization, and innovation capacity. It concludes by offering policy recommendations in light of the specific findings for each country.

The Transatlantic Subnational Innovation Competitiveness Index
Viktor Lázár / Ian Clay / Stephen Ezell / Shelby Lauter / Axel Plünnecke / Stefano da Empoli / Lorenzo Principali / Michele Masulli / Aaron Wudrick Expertise 14. November 2022

The Transatlantic Subnational Innovation Competitiveness Index

Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (Hrsg.)

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German Economic Institute (IW) German Economic Institute (IW)

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