Where are the lost entrepreneurs and inventors?
John Van Reenen, Raj Chetty, Eric Zwick, and Owen Zidar
More innovation depends on the supply of entrepreneurs and inventors. One key bottleneck is around the barriers that many groups face - whether this is by being born into a lower income family, by gender or by race. We have documented that there could be many "Lost Einsteins": US invention rates could quadruple if such barriers were removed.
- "Who Becomes an Inventor in America? The Importance of Exposure to Innovation" (with Alex Bell, Raj Chetty, Xavier Jaravel and Neviana Petkova), Quarterly Journal of Economics, (2019), 134 (2), 647-713.
We are now looking at entrepreneurs who are regarded as key job and value creators in the modern economy. Despite this, we do not have systematic information on the background they face and rewards they enjoy on a population level. We are tackling this using de-identified tax records.
Part of this project is modelling what the barriers are and economic costs of discrimination. Another part is looking at policy responses, including working with foundations who have interventions to overcome these barriers.