For centuries, inventors have been the pioneers of progress. Policymakers look to harness this potential for economic growth by creating robust ecosystems for innovation and ideas to thrive. Yet, current policies, such as tax cuts and STEM investments, may be targeting the wrong solutions.
Opportunity Insights used new de-identified databases linking patent records to tax and school district records to study the lives of more than one million inventors in the United States.
By tracking these individuals from birth onward, key factors were identified that determine who becomes an inventor (as measured by filing a patent).
The results show that improving opportunity and exposure to innovation among disadvantaged groups may have greater potential to spark an innovative spirit than the traditional policy approaches.
Policymakers looking to fuel the engine of innovation by recovering the “Lost Einsteins” should consider:
Improving opportunities for disadvantaged children may be valuable not just to reduce disparities in innovation but also to spur greater technological progress and growth.