Mariana Mazzucato, winner of the inaugural prize.
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Mariana Mazzucato wins the New Statesman SPERI prize for political economy

Mazzucato wins the inaugural prize for her work on the “entrepreneurial state” and innovation in the public sector.

Mariana Mazzucato, of the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) at the University of Sussex, has been awarded the inaugural New Statesman SPERI prize in political economy.

The prize was launched this year by the New Statesman magazine and the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI) at the University of Sheffield.

The Prize will be awarded biennially to the scholar who has succeeded most effectively in disseminating original and critical ideas in political economy to a wider public audience over the preceding two or three years.

The shortlist for the prize contained some of the most innovative and exciting thinkers in political economy working today. The nominees were: Ha-Joon Chang (University of Cambridge); Mariana Mazzucato (University of Sussex); Thomas Piketty (Paris School of Economics); Wolfgang Streeck (Max Planck Institute, Cologne); Anne Wren (Trinity College, Dublin); and Simon Wren-Lewis (University of Oxford).

The Prize Jury was Helen Lewis, Deputy Editor of the New Statesman; George Eaton, Political Editor of the New Statesman; Professor Tony Payne, Director of SPERI; Professor Andrew Gamble, Professor of Politics at the University of Cambridge and Chair of the International Advisory Board of SPERI; Sarah O’Connor, Economics Correspondent at the Financial Times; and Gavin Kelly, Chief Executive of The Resolution Foundation.

In their announcement of the shortlist, the jury said of the winner: “Mariana Mazzucato is a professor in the economics of innovation at the University of Sussex.  She is an accomplished broadcaster and writer, and her 2013 book The Entrepreneurial State contained a wealth of examples showing how the state – not just the private sector – could foster innovation.  The judges praised the originality of her thinking, her willingness to challenge the conventional wisdom and her capacity to take her arguments forward with gusto.”

Helen Lewis, Deputy Editor of the New Statesman, added: “Mariana Mazzucato is one of the most engaging and interesting thinkers currently working in the field of political economy. Her work on the entrepreneurial state and smart growth is required reading for anyone working in economic policy-making.”

Professor Tony Payne, Director of SPERI, noted: “Mariana Mazzucato is a fabulous first winner of this new Prize.  She fulfils the criteria that describe the prize to the letter.”

Professor Mazzucato said: “I am honoured and delighted to receive the New Statesman SPERI prize, especially given the high calibre of the shortlist.  I hope it will help focus attention on the urgent need to tackle rising inequality.  This is not just about tax: we need to fundamentally rethink how we talk about wealth creation. Ignoring the key role of the state – or the tax payer – in wealth creation has, in my view, been a lead cause of inequality, allowing some (hyped up) actors to reap a rate of return way beyond their actual contribution.  My Prize Lecture will focus on this dysfunctional dynamic – and what to do about it.”

Professor Mazzucato will deliver the New Statesman SPERI Prize Lecture at the Emmanuel Centre in London at 6.30pm on Thursday 13 November. Its title will be: “Smart growth: an innovative way to tackle inequality”. The lecture is free but places are limited and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis - please register here.

 

Notes for editors:

Mariana Mazzucato (PhD) holds the prestigious RM Phillips chair in the Economics of Innovation at SPRU in the University of Sussex. Previously she has held academic positions at the University of Denver, London Business School, Open University, and Bocconi University. Her research focuses on the relationship between financial markets, innovation, and economic growth--at the company, industry and national level. Between 2009-2012 she directed a large 3 year European Commission FP7 funded project on Finance and Innovation (FINNOV); her current project on Financing Innovation is funded by the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET); and her project on Finance and Mission Oriented Investments is funded by the Ford Foundation's Reforming Global Financial Governance initiative. Her new book The Entrepreneurial State: debunking private vs. public sector myths (Anthem, 2013)--on the 2013 Books of the Year list of the Financial TimesForbes and the Huffington Post--focuses on the need to develop new frameworks to understand the role of the state in economic growth—and how to enable rewards from innovation to be just as ‘social’ as the risks taken. In 2013 the New Republic called her one of the '3 most important thinkers about innovation'. She advises the UK government and the EC on innovation-led growth. Her research outputs, media engagement, and talks (including her TED Global talk), can be found on her website.  

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The Manchester attack will define this election: Broadcasters have a careful line to tread

It's right that the government should be given a chance to respond, but they must not be allowed to use it to campaign.

Every election campaign has its story, its place in the political history of this country. 2017 will forever be known for Manchester and the horror of the attack on Britain's young; and fighting terrorism will be a theme, overt or underlying, of what we see and hear between now and polling day.

The broadcasters have covered the events comprehensively yet sensitively. But they are aware that we're in an election campaign too; and when other news drives aside the carefully-balanced campaign formats, ministerial appearances give them a dilemma.

The fact is that what the Prime Minister and Home Secretary are doing in response to Manchester is newsworthy. It was Theresa May's duty to implement the recommendations of her security advisers on the elevation of the terror alert, and it would have been unthinkable for the news channels not to broadcast her various statements.

But it is also true that, if the bomb hadn't been detonated, Tuesday would have been a day in which the PM would have been under relentless damaging scrutiny for her u-turn on social care. All the opposition parties would have been in full cry across the airwaves. Yet in the tragic circumstances we found ourselves, nobody could argue that Downing Street appearances on the terror attack should prompt equal airtime for everyone from Labour to Plaid Cymru.

There are precedents for ministers needing to step out of their party roles during a campaign, and not be counted against the stopwatch balance of coverage. Irish terrorism was a factor in previous elections and the PM or Northern Ireland secretary were able to speak on behalf of the UK government. It applied to the foot and mouth epidemic that was occupying ministers' time in 2001. Prime ministers have gone to foreign meetings before, too. Mrs Thatcher went to an economic summit in photogenic Venice with her soulmate Ronald Reagan three days before the 1987 election, to the irritation of Neil Kinnock.

There are plenty of critics who will be vigilant about any quest for party advantage in the way that Theresa May and Amber Rudd now make their TV and radio appearances; and it’s inevitable that a party arguing that it offers strength and stability will not object to being judged against these criteria in extreme and distressing times.

So it's necessary for both broadcasters and politicians to be careful, and there are some fine judgements to be made. For instance, it was completely justifiable to interview Amber Rudd about the latest information from Manchester and her annoyance with American intelligence leaks. I was less comfortable with her being asked in the same interview about the Prevent strategy, and with her response that actions would follow "after June", which edges into party territory and would be a legitimate area to seek an opposition response.

When the campaigning resumes, these challenges become even greater. Deciding when the Prime Minister is speaking for the government and nation, or when she is leader of the Conservative Party, will never be black and white. But I would expect to see the broadcast bulletins trying to draw clearer lines about what is a political report and what is the latest from Manchester or from G7. They must also resist any efforts to time ministerial pronouncements with what's convenient for the party strategists' campaign grid.

There might also usefully be more effort to report straight what the parties are saying in the final days, with less spin and tactical analysis from the correspondents. The narrative of this election has been changed by tragedy, and the best response is to let the politicians and the public engage as directly as possible in deciding what direction the nation should now take.

Roger Mosey is the Master of Selwyn College, Cambridge. He was formerly editorial director and the director of London 2012 at the BBC.

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