Individual Determinants of Inventor Productivity: Report and Preliminary Results with Evidence from Linked Human Capital and Patent Data

34 Pages Posted: 19 Feb 2015

See all articles by Katharina Frosch

Katharina Frosch

University of Würzburg

Dietmar Harhoff

Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition; Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Karin Hoisl

Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition; Munich School of Management, Ludwig-Maximilians-University; Copenhagen Business School, Department of Innovation and Organizational Economics

Christian Steinle

Max-Planck-Institute for Innovation and Competition

Thomas Zwick

University of Würzburg - Business Administration & Economics; Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW); Maastricht University - Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA)

Date Written: January 5, 2015

Abstract

This report offers new insights into the drivers of inventor productivity at the individual level. It includes well-known drivers, such as inventor age and education, and controls for inventor team size, and firm/applicant information, as well as period and technology field effects derived from patent data. In addition, it adds inventor characteristics that have been largely neglected in existing studies on inventor productivity, such as the breadth of work experience, divergent thinking skills, cognitive problem-solving skills, the use of knowledge sourced from networks within and outside of the inventors’ field of expertise, and personality traits. The empirical model draws on a new dataset that matches information about inventors’ human capital, such as creative skills, personality traits, networks, and career biographies (collected with a self-administered survey) with patenting histories for 1932 German inventors between the years 1978 and 2012 for clean technology, nanotechnology, and mechanical elements. Our results indicate that the additional inventor characteristics double the proportion of total variation of productivity explained by individual characteristics. Furthermore, we find differences in the importance of individual characteristics across industries and along the productivity distribution, between more and less productive inventors.

Suggested Citation

Frosch, Katharina and Harhoff, Dietmar and Hoisl, Karin and Steinle, Christian and Zwick, Thomas, Individual Determinants of Inventor Productivity: Report and Preliminary Results with Evidence from Linked Human Capital and Patent Data (January 5, 2015). ZEW - Centre for European Economic Research Discussion Paper No. 15-001. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2567182 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2567182

Katharina Frosch

University of Würzburg ( email )

Sanderring 2
Würzburg, D-97070
Germany

Dietmar Harhoff

Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition ( email )

Marstallplatz 1
Munich, Bayern 80539
Germany
+49 89 24246 550 (Phone)
+49 89 24246 599 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.ip.mpg.de

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München ( email )

Munich, 80539
Germany

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Karin Hoisl

Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition ( email )

Marstallplatz 1
Munich, Bayern 80539
Germany

Munich School of Management, Ludwig-Maximilians-University ( email )

Kaulbachstraße 45
Munich, 80539
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.inno-tec.de/mitarbeiter/hoisl/index_e.html

Copenhagen Business School, Department of Innovation and Organizational Economics ( email )

Solbjerg Plads 3
Frederiksberg C, DK - 2000
Denmark

HOME PAGE: http://www.cbs.dk/en/research/departments-and-centres/department-of-innovation-and-organizational-ec

Christian Steinle

Max-Planck-Institute for Innovation and Competition ( email )

Marstallplatz 1
München, 80539
Germany

Thomas Zwick (Contact Author)

University of Würzburg - Business Administration & Economics ( email )

Sanderring 2
Wuerzburg, D-97070
Germany

Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) ( email )

P.O. Box 10 34 43
L 7,1 D-68161 Mannheim
Germany

Maastricht University - Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA) ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, MD6200
Netherlands

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