This paper focuses on the rise of state investment banks (SIBs) as lead funders of mission-oriented innovation in various countries’ agendas regarding smart (innovation-led) growth, and not just fixers of ‘market failures’. The market failure justification for public finance fails to capture the active mission-oriented role that such banks are playing in shaping and creating markets, rather than just fixing them. In tackling innovation priorities and shaping new markets, these banks are developing new financial tools that also help to reform the financial system from within, addressing issues of short-termism and financialisation. This paper documents and analyses the roles of such banks, building on the Neo-Schumpeterian work on mission-oriented policies (that is, policies that aim to address societal issues or challenges). The paper presents a rich analytical description of mission-oriented investments in two of the leading SIBs: Brazil’s BNDES and Germany’s KfW. We discuss the directionality of the investments, the various tools used, and the lessons to be learned for evaluating these tools outside of a market failure framework.
Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU), Univ. of Sussex, UK
Caetano C.R. Penna
Institute of Economics, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and SPRU, Univ. of Sussex, UK