Economists disagree on most issues, but there is widespread agreement that innovation is a driver of economic growth and development. The question that we address in this study is the relationship between research and development, innovation, human capital or educational levels, and economic performance.
• Innovation, which is linked to human capital, is vital to economic growth and development.
• Wisconsin ranks 20th in the nation for innovation, measured by spending on research and development (R&D), but is lagging behind neighboring states.
• While the majority of spending on R&D in Wisconsin comes from businesses, the University of Wisconsin – Madison accounts for about 27% of all R&D expenditures in Wisconsin. The level of R&D spending by the UW-Madison, however, has been declining over the past several years.
• Compared to the nation, Wisconsin is less active in the most innovative industries. This could limit the potential for sustained economic growth and development.