He said he was impressed that in the United States seven federal agencies now sit at the same table to make sure policies succeed. A decade ago, most governments kept agencies separate and finance ministries decided which to support. Now, governments realize that investments in areas like infrastructure will be extremely unproductive if not coordinated with investments in areas like human capital.
New strategies also go beyond the old focus on creating macro-economic environments conducive to growth. Mr. Pezzini recalled that recently the U.S. government asked the OECD for advice on how to reduce unemployment in America. Researchers concluded that the biggest factors influencing employment were regulatory reform, flexibility and mobility of the labor market, and sound macro-economic policies. But the United States already ranked as best in the OECD in all of these areas. “Therefore, traditional answers cannot be used to address the problems of today,” Mr. Pezzini said. Other policies are needed that complement the macro environment.
How to carry out public governance of innovation strategies raises a number of questions, he noted. One is how to align the different actors. Should federal agencies give money to the states, or give them part of the money if they put in the other 50 percent? Should the parties set up performance indicators and then sit down three years later to discuss progress? And should money be removed if the efforts aren’t working? Should the process be transparent?
“This debate for me is new, is extremely important indeed, and I thank you for inviting me here,” Mr. Pezzini concluded.