The Social Origins of Inventors

95 Pages Posted: 16 Dec 2017

See all articles by Philippe Aghion

Philippe Aghion

College de France and London School of Economics and Political Science, Fellow; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Ufuk Akcigit

University of Chicago - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR)

Ari Hyytinen

University of Jyväskylä

Otto Toivanen

Aalto University - Department of Economics; KU Leuven - Faculty of Business and Economics (FBE); CEPR; Helsinki Center of Economic Research (HECER)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: December 2017

Abstract

In this paper we merge three datasets - individual income data, patenting data, and IQ data - to analyze the determinants of an individual's probability of inventing. We find that: (i) parental income matters even after controlling for other background variables and for IQ, yet the estimated impact of parental income is greatly diminished once parental education and the individual's IQ are controlled for; (ii) IQ has both a direct effect on the probability of inventing an indirect impact through education. The effect of IQ is larger for inventors than for medical doctors or lawyers. The impact of IQ is robust to controlling for unobserved family characteristics by focusing on potential inventors with brothers close in age. We also provide evidence on the importance of social family interactions, by looking at biological versus non-biological parents. Finally, we find a positive and significant interaction effect between IQ and father income, which suggests a misallocation of talents to innovation.

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Suggested Citation

Aghion, Philippe and Akcigit, Ufuk and Hyytinen, Ari and Toivanen, Otto, The Social Origins of Inventors (December 2017). NBER Working Paper No. w24110. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3087049

Philippe Aghion (Contact Author)

College de France and London School of Economics and Political Science, Fellow ( email )

London
United Kingdom

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Ufuk Akcigit

University of Chicago - Department of Economics ( email )

1126 E. 59th St
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.ufukakcigit.com

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

Ari Hyytinen

University of Jyväskylä ( email )

PO Box 35
Jyväskylä, 40014
Finland

HOME PAGE: http://www.jyu.fi

Otto Toivanen

Aalto University - Department of Economics ( email )

PO Box 1210
FI-00101 Helsinki
Finland

KU Leuven - Faculty of Business and Economics (FBE) ( email )

Naamsestraat 69
Leuven, B-3000
Belgium

CEPR ( email )

London
United Kingdom

Helsinki Center of Economic Research (HECER)

FI-00014 Helsinki
Finland

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