Policy Brief: New Tech in New Places – Case Studies of Public Investments in Advanced Tech
Though the long-term trajectory of technological innovation and development is difficult to predict, several state and national governments have successfully implemented decades-long policies to de- velop and strengthen technology industries. Estonian leaders transformed a struggling former Soviet republic into a forward-thinking digital governance visionary; Taiwan leveraged international training partnerships and governmental startup financing into a world-leading semiconductor industry; South Korea used monetary and trade policies to bootstrap an automobile industry out of third-party assembly plants and guide it through economic shocks; and Boston used tax incentives and transit and housing development to create linked innovation districts across the state that attracted the country’s best biotech firms. By learning from these examples, California has the opportunity to extend its lead in the computer science and consumer technology industries, or to initiate a thriving new industry, like envi- ronmental technology. California could adopt a Taiwanese or South Korean approach of carefully growing a domestic industry by leveraging trade policy and government investment, an Estonian approach of rapidly modernizing and centralizing governmental data and services, or a Massachusetts model of identifying and developing innovation hubs across the state that can draw talent and companies from centrally generative pools (e.g., Harvard, BU, Tufts, and MIT in Massachusetts; UCSF, UC Berkeley, and Stanford in California) and provide infrastructure and incentives for in-state growth and development.