How America Is Squandering Its Innovative Potential

Brookings Institution: “…we aren’t yet playing with the whole team. That was a clear takeaway from a paper released this summer, from a team led by Alex Ball and Raj Chetty, that examines the lifecycles of 1.2 million U.S. inventors (defined as patent holders or applicants).”

“Overall, children who are white, rich, male, and exposed to invention early in life are much more likely to invent than children who are non-white, poor, female, and socially and geographically isolated from innovation.”

“…this report is worrying for two reasons. First, it reinforces a growing body of evidence that United States remains far from providing equality of opportunity to all kids—in this case the opportunity to share in the fruits of invention—which is itself a collective moral failure.”

“Second, the constrained supply of inventors in the United States should worry anyone engaged in debates about the country’s innovation engine and future productivity. Clearly, America wastes a lot of potential talent by not—to extend the president’s metaphor—pulling more inventors off the bench in certain communities. Or, as the authors ask: ‘How many ‘lost Einsteins’ could there be due to inequality of opportunity?'”

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