Making the case for better research

I read this morning that the Province of Ontario and Research In Motion co-CEO Jim Balsillie are giving The Waterloo-based Centre for International Governance Innovation $34 million – to “dispense economic research and advice to the government, businesses and the general public. The research institution plans to focus on how other countries are meeting their energy needs, economic growth in China and India, and Canada’s relationship with the Caribbean region”.

I have said before that one of New Brunswick’s biggest problems is the lack of good research on how to grow the province’s economy. I am talking about research tailored specifically to this province and as free from vested interests as possible. I know that we all come at this thing from a specific ideological viewpoint but I still believe there can be relatively unbiased research.

Look at Ontario. They have so much research in this area that it is coming out their ears.

There is some research done in this area for New Brunswick but it is limited.

Here are some research topics that are woefully lacking:

-The role of FDI in revitalizing an economy such as New Brunswick. An unvarnished view of the pros and cons of FDI and the interplay with local business growth.

-Trying to support small business growth as the main pillar of economic development. A 30 year review of the experience of New Brunswick. Has it worked? A comparative study.

-Studying out-migration. Impacts – specifically on New Brunswick.

-Applicable models of successful rural development. Innovative approaches.

-Real statistics. FDI, real entrepreneurship, capital formation, venture capital – New Brunswick economy.

-Series of working papers on best practices in local economic development – with specific application to New Brunswick.

-Best practice models of economic development organization and funding models.

Too bad we don’t have any benevolent billionaires willing to cough up $17 million.

So you will have to settle for biased bloggers, vested interests and disinterested media.

Begin the Beguine.

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0 Responses to Making the case for better research

  1. mikel says:

    SOunds interesting..lets do it!:) How do we know whether thats been done or not? I remember finding a book at the library on McKennas NBWorks project, it was with a selection of other “failed” government initiatives by some american author.

    There are a lot economic profs and students around, surely theres a way to find out whats been done. I know pubmed is invaluable for health and environmental research, I use it all the time, I wonder if theres one for the social sciences.

    Just because we dont HEAR about such things, doesnt mean they dont exist.

    However, I want to challenge one of your claims, while the government consistently TALKS about investing heavily in small to medium businesses, it is actually extremely difficult without the political connections to get actual cash in your hands. And like I blogged, instead of self sufficiency, almost a billion dollars in the last two years has gone into highway construction. That certainly doesnt do anything for SMEs but does to trucking companies and oil trucks.

    Yes, wouldnt it be nice to have that “benevolent billionaire” around who puts money into stuff that doesnt serve his own purposes….much. Keep in mind it sounds very much like an investment in a technology lobby group, and stuff like that definitely makes it easier if RIM ever falls on hard times. I live in Waterloo, and RIM is considered like Royalty. There was a huge deal when the local recreation centre, which ended up fleecing taxpayers, was at the last minute changed to RIM park because of a donation from RIM employees (not even the company).

    So the rhetoric talks about New Brunswickers, but the reality is that like every other area, the money goes overwhelmingly to large corporations, they are just different corporations with different interests.

    However, to be devils advocate, Id bet that if the province built its own medical school and other research institutions, theyd get some federal fudning as well. The ones that currently exist manage to get money, but again, the details would make a good study.