Robert D. Atkinson

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Robert D. Atkinson
Robert D. Atkinson (cropped).jpg
Robert D. Atkinson in 2013
Born (1954-11-22) November 22, 1954 (age 67)
NationalityCanadian American
FieldInnovation economics
Development economics
School or
Innovation economics
Alma materUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
University of Oregon
Information at IDEAS / RePEc

Robert David Atkinson (born November 22, 1954) is a Canadian-American economist. He is president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), a public policy think tank based in Washington, D.C., that promotes policies based on innovation economics.[1][2] He was previously Vice President of the Progressive Policy Institute.

Early life[edit]

Atkinson was born in Calgary, Alberta, on November 22, 1954. He moved to the United States in 1962.[1] He received a B.A. from New College of Florida in 1977, a master's degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Oregon in 1985, and a Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1989, where he was awarded the Joseph E. Pogue Fellowship.[3]


Robert D. Atkinson at ITIF.

Atkinson worked as a program director at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) from 1989 to 1990.[1] In 1990, he joined the now defunct Congressional Office of Technology Assessment, where he produced reports on the impact of information technology on metropolitan areas and the impacts of environmental regulation and defense downsizing on the economy.[3] From 1996 to 1997, he served as the first executive director of the Rhode Island Economic Policy Council.[1] Atkinson became Vice President of the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI) in 1997, where he directed its Technology and New Economy Project.[4]

In 2006, Atkinson left PPI and founded the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, which Ars Technica has described as "one of the leading, and most prolific, tech policy think tanks."[5] In 2008, Atkinson was appointed by the Bush administration as chair of the National Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing Commission.[6] In 2009, he advised the Obama-Biden transition's NIST agency review and Technology, Innovation, and Government Reform teams,[5] and in 2011 the Obama administration appointed him to the National Innovation and Competitiveness Strategy Advisory Board.[7] Atkinson also serves as a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.[8]

Awards and honors[edit]

  • In 1996, Atkinson was named a Small Business Advocate of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration.[1]
  • In 1999, he was featured in Marquis' Who's Who in America.[3]
  • In 2002, he was awarded the Business Transformation Award Silver Medal by the Wharton School and Infosys.[9]
  • In 2002, he was honored as one of the "GT 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers" by Government Technology magazine and the Center for Digital Government.[10]
  • In 2006, he was listed among Inc. magazine's "Best Friends in D.C.: Thinkers."[11]
  • In 2009, he was named one of Ars Technica's "Top Tech Policy People to Watch."[5]
  • In 2011, Washingtonian magazine named him one of their "Tech Titans."[12]


  • The Past And Future of America's Economy: Long Waves of Innovation That Power Cycles of Growth (ISBN 978-1845425760), Edward Elgar, 2005
  • Supply-Side Follies: Why Conservative Economics Fails, Liberal Economics Falters, and Innovation Economics is the Answer (ISBN 978-0742551060), Rowman & Littlefield, 2007
  • Innovation Economics: The Race for Global Advantage (ISBN 978-0300168990), Yale University Press, 2012
  • Big Is Beautiful: Debunking the Myth of Small Business with Michael Lind, (ISBN 978-0262037709), The MIT Press, 2018


  1. ^ a b c d e "Robert David Atkinson". Marquis Biographies Online. Marquis Who's Who. Retrieved October 30, 2012.
  2. ^ Janet Rae-Dupree: Innovation Should Mean More Jobs, Not Less New York Times, January 3, 2009
  3. ^ a b c Atkinson, Robert D. "Professional Experience".
  4. ^ "Robert Atkinson". Progressive Policy Institute. Archived from the original on 2012-05-03.
  5. ^ a b c Anderson, Nate (February 2009). "Ars Technica's Tech Policy "People to Watch" 2009". Ars Technica.
  6. ^ "Commissioner Dr. Robert D. Atkinson". National Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing Commission.
  7. ^ "U.S. Commerce Department Announces Members of New Innovation Advisory Board" (Press release). U.S. Department of Commerce. May 4, 2011. Retrieved August 11, 2013.
  8. ^ "Robert Atkinson". Brookings Institution. Archived from the original on 2012-01-27.
  9. ^ "Robert D. Atkinson, Ph.D." Huffington Post.
  10. ^ "Government Technology's 2002 GT Top 25". Government Technology. April 16, 2002.
  11. ^ Risen, Clay (February 1, 2006). "Best Friends In D.C.: Thinkers". Inc.
  12. ^ Graff, Garrett M. (April 22, 2011). "2011 Tech Titans".

External links[edit]