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innovation policy, regulatory agencies


This article begins with a discussion of innovation’s importance to the future well-being of American society. The authors then discuss limitations of the current federal framework for making innovation policy. Specifically, the relative absence of innovation from the agenda of Congress and many relevant federal agencies manifests the confluence of two regulatory challenges: first, the tendency of political actors to focus on short-term goals and consequences; and second, political actors’ reluctance to threaten powerful incumbent actors. Courts, meanwhile, lack sufficient expertise and the ability to conduct the type of forward-looking policy planning that should be a hallmark of innovation policy.

Ultimately, their analysis leads to a proposal that President Obama (or Congress, if Congress is willing) create a White House OIP that would have the specific mission of being the “innovation champion” within these processes. The authors envision OIP as an entity that would be independent of existing federal agencies and that would have more than mere hortatory influence. It would have some authority to push agencies to act in a manner that either affirmatively promoted innovation or achieved a particular regulatory objective in a manner least damaging to innovation. We also envision OIP as an entity that would operate efficiently by drawing upon, and feeding into, existing interagency processes within OIRA and other relevant White House offices (e.g., the Office of Science and Technology Policy).

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Independent regulatory commissions, Inventions