SPINTAN, a major project on public sector intangibles, has been launched

12 February 2014

The international research project represents a major collaborative effort aiming to shed light on the role of public sector intangibles on well-being and ‘smart’ growth.

Public intangibles cover a broad spectrum of assets, which can be a powerful source of social and economic value. While endogenous growth models emphasise knowledge and skills as important intangible assets, the Lisbon process and the Europe 2020 agenda stress the role of R&D and innovation in boosting economic growth.

The main objective of the project is to analyse the impact of public sector intangibles on innovation, well-being and ‘smart’ growth (including the role of education, R&D and innovation, and the construction of a digital society). Special attention will be paid to the medium- and long-term consequences of austerity policies on public sector intangibles in view of the expected economic recovery. Also, a public intangible database will be built for a wide set of EU countries, complemented with some large non-EU countries.

To that end, SPINTAN is structured into five scientific Work Packages devoted to:• the methodological discussion on the concept of intangibles in the public sector (WP1); • building a public intangibles database for a broad set of countries (WP2);• the implications for smart growth and social inclusion of three key aspects of public sector policies: health, education and R&D with special reference to higher education institutions (WP3);• the spillover effects of public sector intangibles on the business sector (WP4); and • the present and future consequences of the austerity measures taken since 2008 (WP5).

The project is coordinated by the Spanish Institute Ivie and is carried out by research teams from twelve European academic institutes and universities: NIESR (UK), LUISS (Italy), ISTAT (Italy), Imperial College (UK), The Conference Board, OECD, ZEW (Germany), DIW (Germany), wiiw (Austria), FORES (Sweden) and KOPINT (Hungary).

wiiw will contribute data for the new EU Member States and Austria to the envisaged cross-country harmonised database of public sector intangibles (WP2). The institute will also be involved in the methodological and conceptual work in WP1, investigate spillovers from intangibles in WP4 and contribute to the work on austerity and recovery in WP5.