NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Why Don't Women Patent?

Jennifer Hunt, Jean-Philippe Garant, Hannah Herman, David J. Munroe

NBER Working Paper No. 17888
Issued in March 2012
NBER Program(s):   LS   PR

We investigate women's underrepresentation among holders of commercialized patents: only 5.5% of holders of such patents are female. Using the National Survey of College Graduates 2003, we find only 7% of the gap is accounted for by women's lower probability of holding any science or engineering degree, because women with such a degree are scarcely more likely to patent than women without. Differences among those without a science or engineering degree account for 15%, while 78% is accounted for by differences among those with a science or engineering degree. For the latter group, we find that women's underrepresentation in engineering and in jobs involving development and design explain much of the gap; closing it would increase U.S. GDP per capita by 2.7%.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w17888

Published: Why are women underrepresented amongst patentees? Original Research Article Research Policy, Volume 42, Issue 4, May 2013, Pages 831-843 Jennifer Hunt, Jean-Philippe Garant, Hannah Herman, David J. Munroe

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