Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Papers in Innovation Studies,
Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy

No 2012/5: Demographic patterns and trends in patenting: Gender, age, and education of inventors

Olof Ejermo () and Taehyun Jung ()
Additional contact information
Olof Ejermo: CIRCLE, Lund University, Postal: CIRCLE, Lund University, PO Box 117, SE-22100 Lund, Sweden
Taehyun Jung: CIRCLE, Lund University, Postal: CIRCLE, Lund University, PO Box 117, SE-22100 Lund, Sweden

Abstract: This paper uses register-linked patent records covering an extended period 1985-2007 to analyze detailed demographic profiles of inventors. The analysis covers about 80 percent of all inventors with Swedish addresses listed on European Patent Office records. Examining temporal trends of gender, age, and education shows that the body of inventors is becoming more balanced in gender, younger, and more educated. However, the rate at which female inventors are entering into patenting has slowed down since the early 2000’s compared to the mid-1990s. Moreover, comparing the inventor sample with the entire population of Sweden reveals that 1) the closing of the gender gap in inventing is not taking place at the same rate as among Ph.D. holders and that 2) the dependence of inventing on the highly educated (especially, Ph.D. holders) is being intensified over time, but the number of highly educated is growing faster among the general population than among inventors. Finally, the analysis shows that there is significant heterogeneity in the composition and tendency of gender, age, and education of inventors across technology fields.

Keywords: inventor; patent; gender; age; education

JEL-codes: I23; J16; O31; O34

25 pages, First version: April 3, 2012. Revised: April 3, 2012.

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