University of Jyväskylä
PO Box 35
40014 University of Jyväskylä
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|December 2017||The Social Origins of Inventors|
with Philippe Aghion, Ufuk Akcigit, Otto Toivanen: w24110
In this paper we merge three datasets - individual income data, patenting data, and IQ data - to analyze the determinants of an individual's probability of inventing. We find that: (i) parental income matters even after controlling for other background variables and for IQ, yet the estimated impact of parental income is greatly diminished once parental education and the individual's IQ are controlled for; (ii) IQ has both a direct effect on the probability of inventing an indirect impact through education. The effect of IQ is larger for inventors than for medical doctors or lawyers. The impact of IQ is robust to controlling for unobserved family characteristics by focusing on potential inventors with brothers close in age. We also provide evidence on the importance of social family intera...