Team-Specific Capital and Innovation

129 Pages Posted: 5 Oct 2015 Last revised: 4 Jan 2017

See all articles by Xavier Jaravel

Xavier Jaravel

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Economics

Neviana Petkova

University of Oregon

Alex Bell


Date Written: December 9, 2016


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% and -15% 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.

Keywords: Innovation, Human Capital

JEL Classification: O31, O32, J24, J30, J41

Suggested Citation

Jaravel, Xavier and Petkova, Neviana and Bell, Alex, Team-Specific Capital and Innovation (December 9, 2016). Available at SSRN: or

Xavier Jaravel (Contact Author)

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Economics ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom
7456842728 (Phone)
NW12AR (Fax)

Neviana Petkova

University of Oregon ( email )

Lundquist College of Business
1208 University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403
United States

Alex Bell

UCLA ( email )

405 Hilgard Avenue
Box 951361
Los Angeles, CA 90095
United States

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