Productivity is driven by innovation and social and economic organisation. It is a dry, technical term for the transformational changes in technology and society experienced in so many countries since the first Industrial Revolution.

Yet there has been a long-term slowdown in productivity growth, and greater inequality in the distribution of its benefits in terms of income and access to opportunity. How can policy affect the drivers of innovation, and how should governments be thinking both about regulating technology and harnessing it for public services?

Projects in this programme include:

The Bennett Institute leads the Cambridge hub of the UK’s national Productivity Institute. Professor Diane Coyle leads one of its eight major research themes on Knowledge Capital: investigating the way that ideas and know-how – “intangible assets” not easily defined or measured – permeate our society and the economy. This work will lead to better understanding the links between productivity and things that are important but hard to pin down, whether that’s how businesses adopt new technologies and ideas or the role of social networks in determining how well different areas perform.  

Valuing Data led by Diane Coyle, launched with a partnership with the Open Data Institute in a Nuffield Foundation project developing a road map for data policies. It maps the distinctive economic and social features of data, a key asset in modern economies, and explores what these mean for regulators and policymakers. Further work in this programme includes testing empirical approaches to data valuation.

The Digital Economics & Policy Initiative is led by the Bennett Institute and Cambridge-INET. This project will examine the interaction between digital economics and public policy to address the growing size and scope of digital enterprises, the rising challenges to international cooperation and policy development, as well as to help narrow the distance between academic research and public discourse.

The Digital State project led by Tanya Filer is exploring how, as users, developers and regulators of digital technologies, governments can shape whether the digitisation of government, society and the economy will produce more equitable futures. It also seeks to explore and propose good governance mechanisms for the Govtech sector, prioritising democratic values and useful innovation that meets public needs. 

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