Sussex academic Mariana Mazzucato will take up the position of an economic adviser for Jeremy Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet.

Labour’s new Shadow-Chancellor John McDonnell announced her appointment during his speech at this year’s Labour Party conference in Brighton.

Mazzucato will sit on the party’s new Economic Advisory Committee, alongside other anti-austerity economists including Joseph Stiglitz, Thomas Piketty, Simon Wren Lewis, Ann Pettifor and David Blanchflower.

McDonnell said the committee’s role would be to advise the Labour Party on the development and implementation of their economic strategy.

He said that the Labour Party would rely on Mazzucato’s “unchallengeable expertise” and said that he wanted to “create what [she] describes as the entrepreneurial state. A strategic state works in partnership with businesses, entrepreneurs and workers to stimulate growth.”

Mazzucato’s bestselling book The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Public Vs. Private Sector Myths was first published in 2013 and helped her win the New Statesman SPERI Prize in Political Economy and featured on the 2013 books of the year lists of the Financial Times and Forbes.

The book is an attempt to “[debunk] the myth of a lumbering, bureaucratic state versus a dynamic, innovative private sector.”

In August she came out in passionate defence of Jeremy Corbyn’s economic policies in an email she sent to her postgraduate students and researchers.

She wrote that “while many are calling [Corbyn] an extreme left winger” she subscribed to the “rational objective” she believes many of his policies pursue.

She was one of 41 experiences economists who signed a letter to The Observer in August defending – but not endorsing – Jeremy Corbyn.

She jokingly referred to the signatories as “a bunch of wild economists”.

Mazzucato has held academic positions at the University of Denver, London Business School, Open University, and Bocconi University.

She became R.M. Phillips Professor in the Economics of Innovation at the University of Sussex in 2011 and has taught classes in industry dynamics; finance and innovation.

Her speciality is in industrial economics and the economics of growth, focusing on the economics of innovation, finance and economic growth, and the role of the State in modern capitalism.

John McDonnell used his first conference speech as Shadow-Chancellor to set out his plans to redistribute wealth, describing his plan as “new economics.”

Mr McDonnell said he wanted to eschew cuts to the police and schools, favouring cuts to what he called “corporate welfare.”

He called for a more progressive taxation system and acknowledged that Labour needed to prove it could be trusted to run the economy.

Pete Humphreys

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