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

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  • Max Nathan

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Max Nathan, 2011. "Ethnic Inventors, Diversity and Innovation in the UK: Evidence from Patents Microdata," SERC Discussion Papers 0092, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:sercdp:0092
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Crescenzi, Riccardo & Nathan, Max & Rodríguez-Pose, Andrés, 2016. "Do inventors talk to strangers? On proximity and collaborative knowledge creation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 177-194.
    2. Sari Pekkala Kerr & William R. Kerr & William F. Lincoln, 2015. "Firms and the Economics of Skilled Immigration," Innovation Policy and the Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 115-152.
    3. Sari Pekkala Kerr & William R. Kerr & William F. Lincoln, 2015. "Skilled Immigration and the Employment Structures of US Firms," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(S1), pages 147-186.
    4. Carlino, Gerald & Kerr, William R., 2015. "Agglomeration and Innovation," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, Elsevier.
    5. Kemeny, Thomas, 2013. "Immigrant diversity and economic development in cities: a critical review," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 58458, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    6. William R. Kerr, 2013. "U.S. High-Skilled Immigration, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship: Empirical Approaches and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 19377, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Nathan, Max, 2013. "The Wider Economic Impacts of High-Skilled Migrants: A Survey of the Literature," IZA Discussion Papers 7653, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    ethnic inventors; innovation; patents; cultural diversity; diasporas; cities;

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • M13 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - New Firms; Startups
    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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