NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Who Becomes an Inventor in America? The Importance of Exposure to Innovation

Alexander M. Bell, Raj Chetty, Xavier Jaravel, Neviana Petkova, John Van Reenen

NBER Working Paper No. 24062
Issued in November 2017

---- Acknowledgments ----

A preliminary draft of this paper was previously circulated under the title "The Lifecycle of Inventors." The opinions expressed in this paper are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Department of the Treasury, the National Institutes of Health, or the National Bureau of Economic Research. We would particularly like to thank Philippe Aghion, with whom we started thinking about these issues, for inspiration and many insightful comments. We would like to also thank Daron Acemoglu, Ufuk Akcigit, Olivier Blanchard, Erik Hurst, Danny Kahnemann, Pete Klenow, Henrik Kleven, Richard Layard, Eddie Lazear, Josh Lerner, Alex Olssen, Jim Poterba, Scott Stern, Otto Toivanen, Heidi Williams and numerous seminar participants for helpful comments and discussions. Trevor Bakker, Augustin Bergeron, Mike Droste, Jamie Fogel, Nikolaus Hidenbrand, Alexandre Jenni, Benjamin Scuderi, and other members of the Equality of Opportunity Project research team provided outstanding research assistance. This research was funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institute on Aging Grant T32AG000186, the Lab for Economic Applications and Policy at Harvard, the European Research Council, the Economic and Social Research Council at CEP, the Kauffman Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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