In recent years, some thinkers have pushed the idea of using research and development spending to encourage industrial clustering. Evidence strongly shows that government-backed R&D is good for businesses. So why not just direct that spending toward areas that need new business the most?
Now Robert Atkinson, Mark Muro and Jacob Whiton, researchers at the Brookings Institution, have a new plan: they would spend $100 billion over a decade to create eight to 10 regional technology clusters. In addition to $700 million of annual research spending, each lucky city would get grants for worker training, incentives for business investment, infrastructure, tax breaks and so on. The research money would be given to local universities and distributed by the National Science Foundation.
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