Female Inventors and Inventions

43 Pages Posted: 11 Jun 2019

See all articles by Rembrand Koning

Rembrand Koning

Harvard University - Business School (HBS)

Sampsa Samila

University of Navarra, IESE Business School

John-Paul Ferguson

McGill University

Date Written: June 10, 2019


Has the increase in female medical researchers led to more medical advances for women? In this paper, we investigate if the gender of inventors shapes their types of inventions. Using data on the universe of US biomedical patents, we find that patents with women inventors are significantly more likely to focus on female diseases and conditions. Consistent with the idea of women researchers choosing to innovate for women, we find stronger effects when the lead inventor on the patent is a woman. Women-led research teams are 26 percent more likely to focus on female health outcomes. This link between the gender focus of the scientist and the type of invention, in combination with the rise of women inventors, appears to have influenced the direction of innovation over the last four decades. Our findings suggest that the demography of inventors matters not just for who invents but also for what is invented.

Keywords: diversity, gender, innovation

JEL Classification: I14, O32

Suggested Citation

Koning, Rembrand and Samila, Sampsa and Ferguson, John-Paul, Female Inventors and Inventions (June 10, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3401889 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3401889

Rembrand Koning (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Business School (HBS) ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Boston, MA 02163
United States

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

Sampsa Samila

University of Navarra, IESE Business School ( email )

Avenida Pearson 21
Barcelona, 08034

John-Paul Ferguson

McGill University ( email )

1001 Rue Sherbrooke Ouest
Montreal, Quebec H2V 2L5

HOME PAGE: http://jpferguson.net

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