John ZYSMAN's picture


Research Interests: 
Political Economy of the Platform Economy
Future of Work
Political Economy
State and Economy
Politics and Technology
A.B., Harvard University
Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Personal Statement: 

John Zysman is Professor Emeritus at UC Berkeley and co-founder/co-director of the Berkeley Roundtable on the International Economy. Zysman’s ongoing work covers the implications of platforms and intelligent tools for work, entrepreneurship, and international competition; and the economic challenges and opportunities of climate change and the green economy.

From these positions, Zysman has made contributions to the policy and intellectual debates, building a record of thought leadership on the global economy going back five decades. His earlier work was influential in US-Japan trade policy debates in the 1980s. More recently, Zysman has co-authored a series of papers documenting how platforms have transformed the production and distribution of goods and services; these include the well-received “The Rise of the Platform Economy,” published in Issues in Science and Technology in 2016. In addition, several recent articles, including “Unicorns, Cheshire Cats, and the Evolving Logic of Entrepreneurial Finance,” have been featured in popular media such as The Economist, The Financial Times, and the Guardian. As a director of the Work and Intelligent Tools and Systems (WITS) initiative at the Center for Information Technology in the Interest of Society (CITRIS), Zysman is currently exploring how the development, deployment, and consequences of technologies can be shaped by business and policy choices. In addition to his academic research, Zysman is engaged as a consultant, advisor, and board member for governments, corporations, and NGOs.

Zysman earned his BA at Harvard University, and his PhD at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He first joined the faculty at UC Berkeley in 1974.

Current Projects

Future of Work: Work and Intelligent Tools and Systems (WITS) initiative, joint with CITRIS, BMAS (the German Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs), and ETLA (Research Institute of the Finnish Economy). 

Political economy of digital platforms: transatlantic dialogue on AI, and finance and currency in a digital era.

Berkeley Roundtable on the International Economy (BRIE).



Selected Books


The Third Globalization: Can Wealthy Nations Stay Rich in the Twenty-First Century? Ed. with Dan Breznitz. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012


Can Green Sustain Growth: Moving Sustainable Prosperity from Religion to Reality, Ed. with Mark Huberty. Stanford University Press, 2013


21st Century Manufacturing, with Martin Kenney, Dan Breznitz, and Paul Wright.

UNIDO, 2013


The Services Dilemma:  Productivity Sinkhole or Commoditization, with Niels Christian Nielsen and Jonathan Murray. Sats: Rosendahls – Book Partner Media; Tryk: Scandinavian Book; Produktion: Verve Books, 2013


Manufacturing Matters: The Myth of the Post-Industrial Economy, with Stephen Cohen. Basic Books, 1987


American Industry in International Competition, Ed. with Laura Tyson. Cornell University Press, 1984


Governments, Markets, and Growth: Financial Systems and the Politics of Industrial Change, Cornell University Press, 1984






Selected Recent Articles


Platforms and Governance of the Digital Economy


Kenney, M, and Zysman, J. 2016. “The Rise of the Platform Economy.” Issues in Science and Technology 32, no. 3.


Zysman, J. and Kenny, M. 2017. “Intelligent Tools and Digital Platforms: Implications for Work and Employment.” Intereconomics (6): 329-334.


Zysman, J. and Kenney, M. 2018. “The Next Phase in the Digital Revolution: Abundant Computing, Platforms, Growth, and Employment.” Communications of the Association for Computing Machinery 61(2): 54-63.


Platform-Dependent Entrepreneurs and Private Regulators in the Platform Economy,” BRIE Working Paper 2019-5 with Donato Cutolo and Martin Kenney.


Jia, K., Kenney, M. and Zysman, J. 2018. “Global Competitors? Mapping the Internationalization Strategies of Chinese Digital Platform Firms.International Business in the Information and Digital Age, Volume 13 edited by van Tulder, R., Verbeke, A., and Piscetello, L. Emerald Publishing.


Kenney, M. and Zysman, J. 2018. “Entrepreneurial Finance in the Era of Intelligent Tools and Digital Platforms: Implications and Consequences for Work.” In Neufeind M., O'Reilly, J., and Ranft, F. (Eds.), Work and Welfare in the Digital Age: Facing the 4th Industrial Revolution. Rowman & Littlefield, London/New York. pp. 47-62.


Kenney, M. and Zysman, J. 2019. “Unicorns, Cheshire Cats, and the New Dilemmas of Entrepreneurial Finance? Venture Capital: An International Journal of Entrepreneurial Finance 21(1), 35-50.


Zysman, J. and Breznitz, D. 2012. “Double Bind: Governing the Economy in an ICT Era.Governance 25, 129-150.


Kushida, K., Murray, J., and Zysman, J. 2012. “The Gathering Storm: Analyzing the Cloud Computing Ecosystem and Implications for Public Policy.” Communications & Strategies No. 85, 1st Quarter 2012, pp. 63-85.



Work in an Era of Intelligent Tools


Kenney, M., Tyson, L., and Zysman, J. 2019. “Beyond Hype and Despair: Developing Healthy Communities in the Era of Intelligent Tools.” Innovation Policy White Paper Series 2019-1, Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, University of Toronto.  


"Labor in the Platform Economy: New Work Created, Old Work Reorganized, and Value Creation Reconfigured," with Dafna Bearson and Martin Kenney, BRIE Working Paper 2019-2.


Kenney, M., Rouvinen, P. and Zysman, J. 2019. "Employment, Work, and Value Creation in the Era of Digital Platforms."  In Poutanen, S., Kovalainen, S., and Rouvinen, P. (Eds.), Digital Work and the Platform Economy: Understanding Tasks, Skills and Capabilities in the New Era. Forthcoming.


Kenney, M. and Zysman, J. 2019. "Work and Value Creation in the Platform Economy." In Kovalainen, A. Vallas, S. (Eds.), Research in the Sociology of Work. Emerald Publishing Limited. pp. 13-41.



Climate and Energy


Meckling, J., Kelsey, N., Biber, E., and Zysman, J. 2015. “Winning Coalitions for Climate Policy.Science 11 September 2015: 1170-1171.


Zysman, J. and Huberty, M. 2012. “Religion and Reality in the Search for Green Growth.” Intereconomics Vol. 47, Issue 3: 140-146.



Economic and Trade Policy


Griffith, M., Steinberg, R., and Zysman J. 2017. “From great power politics to a strategic vacuum: Origins and consequences of the TPP and TTIP.” Business and Politics Vol. 19, Special Issue 4: 573-592.