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Ethnic Inventors, Diversity and Innovation in the UK: Evidence from Patents Microdata

  • Max Nathan

Ethnic inventors play important roles in US innovation systems, especially in high-tech regions like Silicon Valley. Do 'ethnicity-innovation' channels exist elsewhere? This paper investigates, using a new panel of UK patents microdata. In theory, ethnicity might affect positively innovation via 'star' migrants, network externalities from co-ethnic groups, or production complementarities from diverse inventor communities. I use the novel ONOMAP name classification system to identify ethnic inventors. Controlling for individuals' human capital, I find small positive effects of South Asian and Southern European co-ethnic group membership on individual patenting. The overall diversity of inventor communities also helps raise individual inventors' productivity. I find no hard evidence that ethnic inventors crowd out patenting by majority groups.

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Paper provided by Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE in its series SERC Discussion Papers with number 0092.

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Date of creation: Oct 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cep:sercdp:0092
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