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Measuring the Impact of Household Innovation Using Non Employer Administrative Data

Javier Miranda, Nikolas Zolas


This chapter is a preliminary draft unless otherwise noted. It may not have been subjected to the formal review process of the NBER. This page will be updated as the chapter is revised.

Chapter in forthcoming NBER book Measuring and Accounting for Innovation in the 21st Century, Carol Corrado, Jonathan Haskel, Javier Miranda, and Daniel Sichel, organizers
Conference held March 10–11, 2017
Forthcoming from University of Chicago Press
in NBER Book Series Studies in Income and Wealth

We link USPTO patent data to U.S. Census Bureau administrative records on individuals and firms. The combined dataset provides us with a directory of

patenting household inventors as well as a time-series directory of self-employed businesses tied to household innovations. We describe the characteristics of

household inventors by race, age, gender and U.S. origin, as well as the types of patented innovations pursued by these inventors. Business data allows us to highlight how patents shape the early life-cycle dynamics of nonemployer businesses. We find household innovators are disproportionately U.S. born, white and their age distribution has thicker tails relative to business innovators. Data shows there is a deficit of female and black inventors. Household inventors tend to work in consumer product areas compared to traditional business patents. While patented household innovations do not have the same impact of business innovations their uniqueness and impact remains surprisingly high. Back of the envelope calculations suggest patented household innovations granted between 2000 and 2011 might generate $5.0B in revenue (2000 dollars).

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