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Demographic patterns and trends in patenting: Gender, age, and education of inventors

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  • Jung, Taehyun
  • Ejermo, Olof

Abstract

Using population-wide data on inventors and their demographic characteristics, the paper analyzes trends and patterns by technologies in age, the level of education, and gender gap. We find that the education level of inventors has risen over time. We also find that the gender gap is closing but at slower pace than in other comparable areas of society. Much to our surprise, the average age of inventors has been falling in all areas, despite rising levels of education. To explain the latter finding, we suggest three mechanisms as alternatives to the burden of knowledge argument: 1) the burden of dynamic knowledge renewal, 2) new technological opportunities, and 3) a generally increased propensity to patent. We discuss policy and managerial implications of our findings.

Suggested Citation

  • Jung, Taehyun & Ejermo, Olof, 2014. "Demographic patterns and trends in patenting: Gender, age, and education of inventors," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 110-124.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:tefoso:v:86:y:2014:i:c:p:110-124
    DOI: 10.1016/j.techfore.2013.08.023
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    2. Essendorfer, Stephan & Diaz-Rainey, Ivan & Falta, Michael, 2015. "Creative destruction in Wall Street's technological arms race: Evidence from patent data," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 300-316.
    3. Ejermo, Olof & Hansen, Høgni Kalsø, 2014. "How Important are Local Inventive Milieus: The role of Birthplace, High School and University Education," Papers in Innovation Studies 2014/15, Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy.
    4. Castellani, Davide & Fassio, Claudio, 2016. "Import, Export and Multinationality. Evidence from Swedish Firms," Papers in Innovation Studies 2016/30, Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy.
    5. Jing Xiao, 2015. "The effects of acquisition on the growth of new technology-based firms: Do different types of acquirers matter?," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 45(3), pages 487-504, October.
    6. Yannu Zheng & Olof Ejermo, 2015. "How do the foreign-born perform in inventive activity? Evidence from Sweden," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 28(3), pages 659-695, July.
    7. repec:taf:ecinnt:v:26:y:2017:i:3:p:195-201 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Mojgan Samandar Ali Eshtehardi & Seyed Kamran Bagheri, 2015. "Gender Gap in Patenting Activities: Evidence from Iran," LEM Papers Series 2015/22, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    9. Thomas Zwick & Katharina Frosch, 2017. "Attenuation bias when measuring inventive performance," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 26(3), pages 195-201, April.
    10. Olof Ejermo & Jing Xiao, 2014. "Entrepreneurship and survival over the business cycle: how do new technology-based firms differ?," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 43(2), pages 411-426, August.
    11. Andersson, Martin & Xiao, Jing, 2016. "Acquisitions of start-ups by incumbent businesses," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 272-290.
    12. Ejermo, Olof & Toivanen, Hannes, 2018. "University invention and the abolishment of the professor’s privilege in Finland," Papers in Innovation Studies 2018/6, Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy.
    13. Andersson, Martin & Xiao, Jing, 2014. "Acquisitions of Start-ups by Incumbent Businesses A market selection process of “high-quality” entrants?," Papers in Innovation Studies 2014/19, Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy.
    14. repec:iag:reviea:v:13:y:2016:i:2:p:201-221 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Goeldner, Moritz & Herstatt, Cornelius & Tietze, Frank, 2015. "The emergence of care robotics — A patent and publication analysis," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 115-131.
    16. Castellani, Davide & Fassio, Claudio, 2017. "Export innovation: The role of new imported inputs and multinationality," Papers in Innovation Studies 2017/16, Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy.
    17. repec:eee:respol:v:47:y:2018:i:4:p:814-825 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Harms, Rainer & Luck, Florian & Kraus, Sascha & Walsh, Steven, 2014. "On the motivational drivers of gray entrepreneurship: An exploratory study," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 358-365.
    19. Gema Lax Martínez & Julio Raffo & Kaori Saito, 2016. "Identifying the Gender of PCT inventors," WIPO Economic Research Working Papers 33, World Intellectual Property Organization - Economics and Statistics Division.
    20. repec:spr:scient:v:114:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s11192-017-2607-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Dorner, Matthias & Bender, Stefan & Harhoff, Dietmar & Hoisl, Karin & Scioch, Patrycja, 2014. "The MPI-IC-IAB-Inventor data 2002 (MIID 2002): Record-linkage of patent register data with labor market biography data of the IAB," FDZ Methodenreport 201406_en, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Inventor; Patent; Gender; Age; Education;

    JEL classification:

    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J44 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Professional Labor Markets and Occupations
    • 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
    • O52 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Europe

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