Why Don't Women Patent?
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%.
We are grateful to Leah Brooks and Paula Stephan for comments. Hunt is grateful to the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada for financial support and is also affiliated with the CEPR (London) and DIW (Berlin). The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
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