Intellectual Property Creation and Diversity
Friday, Jan. 5, 2024 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM (CST)
- Chair: Ina Ganguli, University of Massachusetts
The Innovator-Inventor Gap: Evidence from Engineers
AbstractWe study intellectual property (IP) development by surveying engineers from high-tech firms and interviewing patent professionals, focusing on under-represented groups (URGs). We document the opt-in, competitive nature of inventing within firms: only a third of respondents submitted an idea, with half advancing to patent application, a drop-off that we validate with company invention databases. Despite similar training, women, though not under-represented minorities, are disadvantaged across the stages of invention. Next, we offer guidance on factors contributing to the innovator-inventor gap. While the inventor's identity and internal disclosure processes are important, the top three factors are even-handed management practices (e.g., project assignment), balance between extrinsic and intrinsic motivation, and corporate culture. Consequently, we discuss strategies for inclusive innovation and maximizing R&D returns.
The Creativity Decline: Evidence from US Patenting
AbstractEconomists have long struggled to understand why aggregate TFP growth has dropped in recent decades while the number of new patents filed has steadily increased. I offer an explanation for this puzzling divergence: the creativity embodied in US patents has dropped dramatically over time. To separate creative from derivative patents, I develop a novel, text-based, measure of patent creativity: the share of two-word combinations that did not appear in previous patents. I show that only creative and not derivative patents are associated with significant improvements in firm-level productivity and stock market valuations. Using the measure, I show that younger, diverse inventors on average file more creative patents. To estimate the effect of changing US demographics on aggregate creativity and productivity growth, I build a growth model with endogenous creation and adoption of technologies. In this model, falling population growth explains 42% of the observed decline in patent creativity, 32% of the slowdown in productivity growth, and 15% of the increase in derivative patenting.
Gender Gaps in Patent Citation
AbstractInnovation is a process that relies heavily on prior research and knowledge. A primary way by which innovation flows are measured is using patent citations. In this paper, we examine the relationship between inventor gender and the likelihood that a patent is cited by subsequent patents. We see that female inventors are undercited relative to their presence in the inventor population. When controlling for time, technology field, and location, we find that female patents receive significantly fewer citations and take longer to be cited than their male counterparts. Patents with majority-female authorship receive on average over 20% fewer citations than patents with majority-male authorship. We also find evidence of gender homophily in citation practices, which is a potential driver of the gap in citations received by female inventors.
- O3 - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights
- Z1 - Cultural Economics; Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology