Policy Experiments to Address Gender Inequality among Innovators

30 Pages Posted: 12 Jan 2020

See all articles by Amy C. Madl

Amy C. Madl

Stanford University, School of Law

Lisa Larrimore Ouellette

Stanford Law School

Date Written: November 24, 2019


In her Frankel Lecture, Professor Orly Lobel has set forth an intriguing hypothesis: that non-compete agreements, non-disclosure agreements, and other legal restrictions on employee exit and voice exacerbate the innovation gender gap. The unequal participation of women in science, technology, and innovation is an issue of increasing concern for many public- and private-sector stakeholders, and those interested in increasing innovation by women would be well advised to consider Lobel’s ideas. But as we emphasize in this Commentary, the underlying causal mechanisms for inequalities among innovators remain highly contested, and policymakers should not overstate the existing evidence for potential interventions out of a desire for rapid progress. Nor should they use this lack of evidence as an excuse for inaction. Rather, we argue that institutions interested in this issue should look for opportunities to rigorously and transparently test the most promising interventions.

Keywords: innovation, inequality, gender, non-compete agreements, non-disclosure agreements, human capital, science, STEM

JEL Classification: K00, K2, K31, H41, H50, O31, O34, O38

Suggested Citation

Madl, Amy C. and Ouellette, Lisa Larrimore, Policy Experiments to Address Gender Inequality among Innovators (November 24, 2019). Houston Law Review, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3505012

Amy C. Madl

Stanford University, School of Law ( email )

Stanford, CA
United States

Lisa Larrimore Ouellette (Contact Author)

Stanford Law School ( email )

559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305
United States

HOME PAGE: http://law.stanford.edu/directory/lisa-larrimore-ouellette/

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