This paper addresses the challenge of incorporating innovation and structural change in models of economic planning. Previous approaches to economic planning have mostly considered the static problem of the allocation of goods and services, leaving a secondary role (if at all) for the dynamic problem of innovation and change. However, Morozov (2021) argues that the key challenge for any alternative economic system, including planning, is to incorporate a model for progress that can rival the perceived innovative and dynamic nature of capitalism. Finding previous approaches to change in planned economies to be insufficient as central elements of planning technological progress, this paper introduces two new and complementary approaches to planning innovation: Democratic accelerated missions and screening and scaling technologies. Democratic accelerated missions act on the demand side of innovation, translating democratically formulated needs for new capabilities into research and development projects to fulfill these needs. Screening and scaling technologies act on the supply side, selecting promising new technologies based on democratically decided priorities and developing them towards finished products. Both approaches draw extensively on quantitative and qualitative evidence from different strands of literature on innovation to build an empirically grounded model, with a particular focus on (1) democratic decision-making in planning innovation, and (2) incorporating insights from technology prediction and the economics of innovation to steer technological progress. The proposed model demonstrates the feasibility of planning and directing technological progress, and is a first step towards designing institutional and algorithmic structures to this end.


Rochowicz, N. (2024). Planning progress: Incorporating innovation and structural change into models of economic planning. Competition & Change, 0(0). https://doi.org/10.1177/10245294231220690
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