Journal Article

Same difference? Minority ethnic inventors, diversity and innovation in the UK

Max Nathan

in Journal of Economic Geography

Volume 15, issue 1, pages 129-168
Published in print January 2015 | ISSN: 1468-2702
Published online May 2014 | e-ISSN: 1468-2710 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jeg/lbu006

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  • Technological Change; Research and Development
  • Demographic Economics
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Minority ethnic inventors play important roles in US innovation, especially in high-tech regions such as Silicon Valley. Do ‘ethnicity–innovation’ channels exist elsewhere? Ethnicity could influence innovation via production complementarities from diverse inventor communities, co-ethnic network externalities or individual ‘stars’. I explore these issues using new UK patents microdata and a novel name-classification system. UK minority ethnic inventors are spatially concentrated, as in the USA, but have different characteristics reflecting UK-specific geography and history. I find that the diversity of inventor communities helps raise individual patenting, with suggestive influence of East Asian-origin stars. Majority inventors may benefit from multiplier effects.

Keywords: Innovation; cultural diversity; minority ethnic inventors; patents; cities; J15; O31; R11

Journal Article.  16058 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Technological Change; Research and Development ; Demographic Economics ; Urban, Rural, and Regional Economics

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