This conference is supported by Grant #20140669 from Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
Innovation is essential for economic growth, prosperity and social progress. And yet, there is strong evidence of persistent inequality and exclusion of women in the U.S. innovation economy and in many other countries. This paper has two main goals. First, identifying the gap between the STEM pipeline and the rates of gender inclusion in patenting to quantify the nature of the invention gap beyond a pipeline problem. Second, understanding the variation in inventor inclusion across regions, organizations and individuals that drive inclusion, as a window into policy and organizational catalysts for change.
Applications for new businesses from the U.S. Census Bureau’s monthly and weekly Business Formation Statistics (BFS) fell substantially in the early stages of the pandemic but then surged in the second half of 2020. This surge has continued through early April 2021. The pace of applications since mid-2020 is the highest on record (earliest data available is 2004). The large increase in applications is for both likely new employers and nonemployers. These patterns contrast sharply with those in the Great Recession when applications for likely new employer businesses and in turn actual startups of employer businesses declined sharply and persistently. The surge in new business applications has been uneven across sectors. Ten 3-digit NAICS industries account for 75% of the surge. Dominant industries include Nonstore Retail (alone accounting for 33% of the surge), Professional, Scientific and Technical Services, Truck Transportation, and Accommodation and Food Services. Given that existing small businesses in Retail Trade and Accommodation and Food Services have suffered especially large declines in the pandemic, these patterns are consistent with restructuring induced by the pandemic.
This paper was distributed as Working Paper 28912, where an updated version may be available.
Innovation policy can be a crucial component of governments' responses to crises. Because speed is a paramount objective, crisis innovation may also require different policy tools than innovation policy in non-crisis times, raising distinct questions and tradeoffs. In this paper, Gross and Sampat survey the U.S. policy response to two crises where innovation was crucial to a resolution: World War II and the COVID-19 pandemic. After providing an overview of the main elements of each of these efforts, Gross and Sampat discuss how they compare, and to what degree their differences reflect the nature of the central innovation policy problems and the maturity of the U.S. innovation system. The researchers then explore four key tradeoffs for crisis innovation policy---top-down vs. bottom-up priority setting, concentrated vs. distributed funding, patent policy, and managing disruptions to the innovation system---and provide a logic for policy choices. Finally, Gross and Sampat describe the longer-run impacts of the World War II effort and use these lessons to speculate on the potential long-run effects of the COVID-19 crisis on innovation policy and the innovation system.
This paper was distributed as Working Paper 28915, where an updated version may be available.
The paper discusses risk-taking and the funding of risky science, drawing on examples of mRNA-based drugs, the vaccines based on mRNA and the problems faced by Katalin Karik, a scientist who did pioneering-research related to mRNA-based drugs. Franzoni, Stephan, and Veugelers describe measures to distinguish risky from non-risky research and the extent to which the citation footprint of risky research differs from that of non-risky research. The researchers review empirical work concerning the funding of risky research which suggests that funding is biased against risky research. They provide a framework for thinking about why funding agencies may eschew funding risky research, focusing first on how factors within the research system, such as pressure to show results in a short time period and the widespread use of bibliometrics, contribute to risk aversion. Franzoni, Stephan, and Veugelers then focus on three key players affecting research funding and the role the three play in determining the amount of risky research that is undertaken: (1) funding agencies, (2) panelists and (3) principal investigators. The researchers close with a discussion of interventions that government agencies and universities could adopt if they wish to increase the amount of risk that they fund.
This paper was distributed as Working Paper 28905, where an updated version may be available.