Babbage Lecture Series

The Babbage Lecture Series



Manufacturing Economic Growth

Andrew Adonis was fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford, when he was also elected to Oxford City Council (from 1987 to 1991) and then journalist at the Financial Times (1991-96) and political columnist at the Observer.


He joined Tony Blair’s Number 10 policy staff in 1998, first as education adviser then, after 2001, as Head of the Policy Unit. He was Minister for Schools from May 2005 until October 2008, Minister of State for Transport from October 2008 until June 2009, and Secretary of State for Transport from June 2009 until May 2010. He was one of Labour’s negotiating team with the Liberal Democrats in the postelection hung parliament negotiations.


Adonis Growth Review: Terms of Reference

It is now eight months since Michael Heseltine published his report No Stone Unturned: In Pursuit of Growth. Yet his radical proposals remain largely unimplemented. Growth is still weak and elusive; unemployment, particularly youth unemployment, is high; and real wages are falling, putting an unprecedented squeeze on living standards.


In an independent report to be published by IPPR and Policy Network next spring, Andrew Adonis will make policy recommendations for a modern growth and industrial strategy to promote more and better jobs. Adonis’s starting point is that the Heseltine Report was too restricted in its scope. It was good on the weaknesses of BIS in forging and driving innovation and growth policies.

But it had little to say about infrastructure, where Britain has a poor record. It discussed the funding flows, but not the content of skills policy, where radical change is needed, particularly on youth apprenticeships. And it had to take for granted the existing pattern of generally weak Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) as the agents to drive local growth, since these were the government’s flagship creation after the wholesale abolition of the Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) in 2010/11. It is essential to revisit the Heseltine Report with a real imperative for

change across a broader canvas.


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20 June 2013

Lord Sainsbury of Turville, “Linking science, engineering and economics - a progressive capitalism approach”



David Sainsbury became Lord Sainsbury of Turville in October, 1997. He was appointed Minister of Science and Innovation from July 1998 until November 2006, and had responsibility for the Office of Science and Technology, Innovation, Space, the Bioscience and Chemical Industries, and the Patent Office. He is the founder of the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, and in 2003 received, on behalf of the Sainsbury family, the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Philanthropy. He was elected Chancellor of the University of Cambridge in October 2011. He is the author of Progressive Capitalism – how to achieve economic growth, liberty and social justice, published in May 2013.


Progressive Capitalism:

The cornerstone of the political economy of Progressive Capitalism is a belief in capitalism. But it also incorporates the three defining beliefs of Progressive thinking. These are:

  • the crucial role of institutions
  • the need for the state to be involved in their design because conflicting interests have to be resolved
  • the use of social justice as an important measure of a country’s economic performance

Social justice, defined as fairness, is used as a measure of performance in addition to the rate of economic growth and liberty. Progressive Capitalism shows how this new, Progressive political economy can be used by politicians and policymakers to produce a programme of economic reform for a country. It does this by analysing and proposing reforms for the UK’s equity markets, its system of corporate governance, its national system of innovation and its education and training system. Finally, Progressive Capitalism describes the role the state should play in the economy, which it sees as an enabling one rather than the command-and-control stance of traditional socialism or the minimalist role of neoliberalism.


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24 April 2013

Industrial Policy: emerging issues and new trends

Ken Warwick, independent economics consultant and former Director of Economics in the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.


Abstract this paper reviews the evidence on emerging thinking and new trends in the sphere of industrial policy. The paper adopts a broad and inclusive definition of industrial policy, and proposes a new typology based on the orientation of policy and the policy domain. Looking at a typology according to the policy domain, the paper proposes a framework based on growth accounting, which parallels the evolution of thinking about the rationale for industrial policy interventions, which has moved from a traditional approach based largely on product market interventions (production subsidies, state ownership, tariff protection), through market failure-correcting taxes and subsidies operating mainly on factor markets (R&D incentives, training subsidies, investment allowances, help with access to finance) to a focus on interventions that help build systems, create networks, develop institutions and align strategic priorities.


While not immune to the dangers of government failure, such an approach, if carefully designed and implemented, has a much higher chance of success than the costly and distortionary selective-defensive industrial policy interventions of the past. One clear message to emerge from the paper is the need for much better monitoring and evaluation of industrial policy initiatives.


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13 December 2012

Industrial and innovation policies in Brazil: recent paths and main challenges

Professor Mario Sergio Salerno, Polytechnic School, University of São Paulo, Brazil


Professor Mario Sergio Salerno is Professor at the Production Engineering Department, Polytechnic School, University of São Paulo, Brazil. He is also the coordinator of the Innovation Management Laboratory at University’s Polytechnic School, and executive coordinator of the Observatory of Innovation and Competitiveness at the Institute of Advanced Studies.  Professor Salerno has published widely in research domains including: strategy and organization, strategic management of innovation, organizational design and analysis, as well as industrial, technological and innovation policies.


In addition to his academic work, Professor Salerno also has significant industrial and innovation policy experience. He has spent time as Director of Industrial Development at the Brazilian Agency for Industrial Development (2005-2006). Professor Salerno has also been the Director of Sectoral Studies at the Institute of Applied Economic Research - the Brazilian government-led research organization which provides studies for government planning and policy-making. He has also been a member of the task-group that elaborated the Brazilian government’s Industrial, Technological and Foreign Trade Policy (2003-2004).


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25 October 2012

Charles Babbage’s New Manufacturing System: The Lectures that Never Happened


Capturing value in modern manufacturing systems

Professor Sir Mike Gregory, Head, Institute for Manufacturing

While reflecting variations in national strengths and policymaking processes, recently published national manufacturing strategies evidence an increasingly common recognition of the systems-nature of manufacturing. Indeed, modern manufacturing is increasingly recognised as consisting of complex interdependencies, often across a range of industries, which contribute a variety of components, materials, production systems and subsystems, producer services and product-related service systems. Conventional sectoral boundaries and industrial classifications might obscure rather than reveal focal production and technological dynamics and might make it difficult to identify activities where value is nested. The presentation will conclude by sketching how a systems perspective may provide the foundations of a new industrial policy paradigm.


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Industrial Policy: Can We Go Beyond an Unproductive Confrontation?

Ha-Joon Chang, Reader in the Political Economy of Development, Faculty of Economics

This paper attempts to go beyond what the author sees as an unproductive confrontation between the proponents and the opponents of industrial policy and to take the debate on industrial policy forward. After discussing some issues related to conceptualizing and assessing industrial policy, the paper discusses most (although not all) of the key issues emerging from the industrial policy debate. They include the wisdom or otherwise of targeting, the feasibility of the state “beating the market,” political economy questions, bureaucratic capabilities, performance measurement (especially export targets), the importance of export-related industrial policy, and the implications of changing global policy environment.


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04 February 2013

A new approach to industrial policy

Professor Patrizio Bianchi, University of Ferrara and Emilia Romagna Regional Government


Patrizio Bianchi is full Professor of Applied Industrial Economics at the University of Ferrara (Italy) and has been, since 2010, Councillor for Education and Research of the Regional Government of the Emilia-Romagna region, after being Chancellor of the University of Ferrara from 2004 to 2010. After graduating in Political Sciences-economics-political direction at the University of Bologna with Romano Prodi and at the London School of Economics and Political Sciences, Patrizio Bianchi built a rapid academic career in various Universities and returned to Bologna in 1990 as full professor of European Economics and Policy. In 1996 he moved to the ancient University of Ferrara to found the Faculty of Economics, where he was Dean from 2000 to 2004. Besides his academic activity he has been an advisor to Italian Institutions such as the Prime Minister Office, the Minister of Industry Cabinet, and the Regional Government of Emilia-Romagna, and international institutions such as the European Commission, the BID and UNIDO mainly on issues related to the development of industrial organization and small and medium sized companies. He was appointed Economic Advisor to the Governor of Guangdong Province in 2000. Patrizio has more than 200 publications, including books and articles in scientific journals. Publications on industrial policy include an International Handbook of Industrial Policy (2006, Edward Elgar) and Industrial Policy after the Crisis: seizing the Future, 2011, Edward Elgar (written with Sandrine Labory).


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