The Politics of Innovation Policy: Building Israel’s “Neo-developmental” State

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21 Scopus citations


This article contributes to an emerging literature on the “neo” or “entrepreneurial” developmental state that emphasizes the role of innovation policy in promoting the structural transformation of industry. It finds further evidence that supports this approach and advances it by making two unique contributions. First, it highlights an essential yet underappreciated feature of contemporary innovation policy: the state’s capacity to condition public assistance and discipline private firms that do not adhere to government guidelines. These capacities are necessary to guarantee that the benefits of public investment in innovation—the social and economic spillovers—are not appropriated by private actors but shared more broadly within society. Second, it highlights that politics—reflected in the relations between innovation agencies and key social actors—represents an important causal factor in both the formation and subsequent transformation of these institutional capacities. These points are illustrated through a historical analysis of a crucial case: the state-led development of Israel’s thriving high-tech sector.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)451-487
Number of pages37
JournalPolitics and Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Israel
  • developmental state
  • discipline
  • innovation
  • policy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Political Science and International Relations


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