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Missing Einsteins

A few weeks ago I posted an essay on 'lost potential'.

Further evidence arrives on just how much is lost, this time from the US.

Alexander M. Bell, Raj Chetty, Xavier Jaravel, Neviana Petkova and John Van Reenen report (here)  on their research into the question: who becomes an inventor?

They find:

children from high-income (top 1%) families are ten times as likely to become inventors as those from below-median income families. There are similarly large gaps by race and gender. 

exposure to innovation during childhood has significant causal effects on children's propensities to become inventors. Growing up in a neighborhood or family with a high innovation rate in a specific technology class leads to a higher probability of patenting in exactly the same technology class. 

the financial returns to inventions are extremely skewed, and women and disadvantaged youth are as under-represented among high-impact inventors as they are among inventors as a whole. 

They conclude:

"We de…

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