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Team-Specific Capital and Innovation

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  • Xavier Jaravel
  • Neviana Petkova
  • Alex Bell

Abstract

We establish the importance of team-specific capital in the typical inventor's career. Using administrative tax and patent data for the population of US patent inventors from 1996 to 2012, we find that an inventor's premature death causes a large and long-lasting decline in their co-inventor's earnings and citation-weighted patents (–4 percent and –15 percent after 8 years, respectively). After ruling out firm disruption, network effects, and top-down spillovers as main channels, we show that the effect is driven by close-knit teams and that team-specific capital largely results from an "experience" component increasing collaboration value over time.

Suggested Citation

  • Xavier Jaravel & Neviana Petkova & Alex Bell, 2018. "Team-Specific Capital and Innovation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 108(4-5), pages 1034-1073, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:108:y:2018:i:4-5:p:1034-73
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.20151184
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • M54 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Labor Management
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital

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