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This seminar will be about the theory of innovation, the possibilities of innovation policy, and the prospects of self-governance solutions. Specifically, I will explore what seem to be two distinct views on 'the innovation problem' (a la Arrow 1962). The first is the standard model of market failure that is solved through government action, with its suite of policy solutions including R&D tax credits, public funding of science & research, and intellectual property. The second views the innovation problem as a collective action problem that is solved through governance that develops rules for facilitate coordination, monitor and police free-riding (Ostrom 1990). This second model I call ‘the innovation commons’. In this talk I will propose and develop three theories about the institutional mechanisms that support such a commons: (1) a ‘two commons’ model of technical and market information resources; (2) evolution of cooperation arguments (Nowak 2006); and (3) defense against rent-seeking enclosure (Olsen 1982, Parente and Prescott 2001).  These will be illustrated with examples from our case studies on additive manufacturing, open science, and sports.  

About Jason Potts

BIO: Jason Potts is Professor of economics at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. His current work is on commons-based models of innovation, but works broadly on innovation theory and policy, evolutionary economics, institutional economics, cultural economics, and recently on applications of entrepreneurial and innovation economics to sports economics.  His latest book is ‘Cultural Science: A natural history of stories, demes, knowledge and innovation’ (Bloomsbury, 2014).

Jason Potts

School of Economics, Finance & Marketing, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia



Ciudad Politécnica de la Innovación
Edificio 8E, Acceso J, Planta 4ª (Sala Descubre. Cubo Rojo)
Universidad Politécnica de Valencia | Camino de Vera s/n