In a search for Schumpeterian solutions, the Obama Administration has made venture capital a cornerstone of its Clean Technology policy, adopting a strategy of providing large loan guarantees to a few venture capital-financed firms. This article argues that three key conditions are necessary for venture capital to successfully open new economic spaces and then it applies them to assess the viability of venture capital investment in clean technology. The article concludes that large loan guarantees are unlikely to be effective. Other government policies such as SBIR grants, university R&D support, certain (de)regulatory actions, large-scale demonstration projects, and/or procurement decisions can better encourage both incremental and Schumpeterian innovation without distorting the turbulent dynamics of new market creation. This analysis can also be applied to other sector- and market-specific innovation policies.
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