Who Invents?: Evidence from the Japan-U.S. inventor survey
AbstractHuman resources are increasingly seen as a key to innovation competitiveness, and there is a need for detailed, systematic data on the demographics of inventors, their motivations, and their careers. To gain systematic data on who invents, we collected detailed information on a sample of inventors in the U.S. and Japan (the RIETI-Georgia Tech inventor survey). The data come from a unique set of matched surveys of U.S. and Japanese inventors of triadic patents, i.e., patents from patent families with granted patents in the U.S. and applications filed in Japan and in the EPO, with data from over 1900 responses from the U.S. and over 3600 responses from Japan. Based on these survey data, we compare the profiles, motivations, mobility and performance of inventors in the U.S. and Japan. Overall, we find some important similarities between inventors in the U.S. and Japan. The distribution across functional affiliations within the firm, by gender, by educational fields and their motivations, are all quite similar. In particular, in both countries we find inventors emphasizing task motivations over pecuniary motivations. Firm-centered motivation (e.g., generating value for my firm) is also an important reason for inventing and this reason is relatively more important in the U.S. than Japan. Their distribution across types of organizations is quite similar. The percent of university inventors is nearly the same in the two countries, and the distribution of these inventors across technology classes is also quite similar. However, the percent from very small firms is significantly higher in the U.S. There are a few important differences. American inventors are much more likely to have a Ph.D. American inventors are older (even controlling for differences in the share of the inventors with Ph.D.s). The modal Japanese inventor has his first invention in his 20s, while for the U.S., the mode is the early 30s, and we also find many more American inventors over age 55 at the time of their triadic patent invention. In both countries, older inventors tend to produce higher value patents. American inventors are also much more mobile (although Japanese inventors with Ph.D.s also have high rates of mobility, mainly in the form of secondments). In the U.S., mobility tends to decline with age, while in Japan, mobility is higher for older inventors (likely due to the differences in retirement ages in the two countries). In both countries, mobility is associated with greater access to outside information. Finally, we find that foreign-born inventors are very important in the U.S. (we did not collect data on country of origin for Japan). Overall, these results suggest that inventor characteristics may be important for firm performance, and that institutional differences may affect the profile of inventors in each country, although the inventors of the two countries are very similar in many respects. Future work will examine how these cross-national differences in inventor profiles affect innovation in each country.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI) in its series Discussion papers with number 09034.
Length: 70 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2009
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: 11th floor, Annex, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) 1-3-1, Kasumigaseki Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 100-8901
Web page: http://www.rieti.go.jp/
More information through EDIRC
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2009-09-11 (All new papers)
- NEP-INO-2009-09-11 (Innovation)
- NEP-IPR-2009-09-11 (Intellectual Property Rights)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Sadao Nagaoka, 2005. "Determinants of the Introduction of Stock Options by Japanese Firms: Analysis from the Incentive and Selection Perspectives," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(6), pages 2289-2316, November.
- NAGAOKA Sadao & John P. WALSH, 2009. "Commercialization and Other Uses of Patents in Japan and the U.S.: Major findings from the RIETI-Georgia Tech inventor survey," Discussion papers 09011, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
- Hall, Bronwyn H & Jaffe, Adam B & Trajtenberg, Manuel, 2001.
"The NBER Patent Citations Data File: Lessons, Insights and Methodological Tools,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
3094, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Hall, B. & Jaffe, A. & Trajtenberg, M., 2001. "The NBER Patent Citations Data File: Lessons, Insights and Methodological Tools," Papers 2001-29, Tel Aviv.
- Bronwyn H. Hall & Adam B. Jaffe & Manuel Trajtenberg, 2001. "The NBER Patent Citation Data File: Lessons, Insights and Methodological Tools," NBER Working Papers 8498, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Henry Sauermann & Wesley M. Cohen, 2008. "What Makes Them Tick? Employee Motives and Firm Innovation," NBER Working Papers 14443, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Giuri, Paola & Mariani, Myriam, 2007.
"Inventors and invention processes in Europe: Results from the PatVal-EU survey,"
Elsevier, vol. 36(8), pages 1105-1106, October.
- Giuri, Paola & Mariani, Myriam & Brusoni, Stefano & Crespi, Gustavo & Francoz, Dominique & Gambardella, Alfonso & Garcia-Fontes, Walter & Geuna, Aldo & Gonzales, Raul & Harhoff, Dietmar & Hoisl, Karin, 2007. "Inventors and invention processes in Europe: Results from the PatVal-EU survey," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(8), pages 1107-1127, October.
- OWAN Hideo & NAGAOKA Sadao, 2011. "Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivations of Inventors," Discussion papers 11022, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
- Hélène Dernis & Mosahid Khan, 2004. "Triadic Patent Families Methodology," OECD Science, Technology and Industry Working Papers 2004/2, OECD Publishing.
- ONISHI Koichiro & NAGAOKA Sadao, 2012. "Life-cycle Productivity of Industrial Inventors: Education and other determinants," Discussion papers 12059, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
- Marcus BERLIANT & FUJITA Masahisa, 2010.
"The Dynamics of Knowledge Diversity and Economic Growth,"
10024, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
- Marcus Berliant & Masahisa Fujita, 2011. "The Dynamics of Knowledge Diversity and Economic Growth," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 856-884, April.
- Berliant, Marcus & Fujita, Masahisa, 2008. "The dynamics of knowledge diversity and economic growth," MPRA Paper 9514, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Berliant, Marcus & Fujita, Masahisa, 2010. "The Dynamics of Knowledge Diversity and Economic Growth," MPRA Paper 21009, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Berliant, Marcus & Fujita, Masahisa, 2008. "The Dynamics of Knowledge Diversity and Economic Growth," MPRA Paper 7088, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Berliant, Marcus & Fujita, Masahisa, 2009. "The dynamics of knowledge diversity and economic growth," MPRA Paper 16475, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Ejermo, Olof & Jung, Taehyun, 2012. "Demographic patterns and trends in patenting: Gender, age, and education of inventors," CIRCLE Electronic Working Papers 2012/5, Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy, revised 03 Apr 2012.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (NUKATANI Sorahiko).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.