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Innovation and Economic Growth and Development: R&D within Wisconsin

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

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.

Key Findings:

• 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.

 





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