The Life Cycle of Inventors Past and Present
Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018 10:15 AM - 12:15 PM
- Chair: Lisa Cook, Michigan State University
Missing Women and African Americans, Innovation, and Economic Growth
AbstractThe process of converting invention to innovation is fundamental to economic growth but remains poorly understood. This paper uses data from the Survey of Doctoral Recipients to examine the determinants of patent and commercialization activity among PhD-holders and, more importantly, for the first time, those who commercialize their inventions over time. Recent studies have shown that rates of patenting and commercialization of ideas by women and African Americans have lagged those of U.S. inventors. What accounts for these differences in patenting and commercialization? Consistent with earlier research, we find that African Americans and women apply for patents 54 and 55 percent less than men, patent 54 and 60 percent less than men, and commercialize their patents 55 and 60 percent than men. We find that those who commercialize their patents over time are productive in research, are at large firms, are in the physical sciences and engineering, and are largely neither women nor African Americans. Given the important progression from basic research to invention to commercialization of ideas to higher living standards, we estimate that GDP per capita could rise by 0.88 percent to 4.6 percent with the inclusion of more women and African Americans in the initial stages of the process of innovation.
The Social Origins of Inventors
AbstractIn this paper we merge three datasets - individual income data, patenting data, and IQ data - to analyze the determinants of an individual's probability of inventing. We find that: (i) parental income matters even after controlling for other background variables and for IQ, yet the estimated impact of parental income is greatly diminished once parental education and the individual's IQ are controlled for; (ii) IQ has both a direct effect on the probability of inventing an indirect impact through education. The effect of IQ is larger for inventors than for medical doctors or lawyers. The impact of IQ is robust to controlling for unobserved family characteristics by focusing on potential inventors with brothers close in age. We also provide evidence on the importance of social family interactions, by looking at biological versus non-biological parents. Finally, we find a positive and significant interaction effect between IQ and father income, which suggests a misallocation of talents to innovation.
Last Place: The Intersection Between Ethnicity, Gender, and Race in Biomedical Authorship
AbstractThis paper investigates how ethnicity, gender, and race are related to the probability of being last author on MEDLINE articles (in biomedical science, last author runs the lab and/or is the principal investigator, which is an indicator of career independence). We combine MEDLINE publication data with three additional databases and use machine learning to clean, combine, and impute a range of information. In addition to studying the relationship between last author position, ethnicity, gender, and race, we leverage the massive size of our data to highlight the importance of intersectionality, the idea that ethnicity, gender, and race are not necessarily additive, but interact to determine experiences and outcomes. This analysis is timely because of serious concerns with underrepresentation of women and minorities in biomedicine and other STEM fields.
Stanford University and NBER
Kaye Husbands Fealing,
Georgia Institute of Technology
U.S. Census Bureau
University of Waterloo
- O3 - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights
- J6 - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers