Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The patent gap

The Freakonomics blog reports:
It centers around a new working paper called ”Why Don’t Women Patent?” by Jennifer Hunt, Jean-Philippe Garant, Hannah Herman, and David J. Munroe. ...

The paper argues that: a) only 5.5% of commercialized or licensed patents are held by women; that b) this gap cannot be significantly explained by the fact that fewer women hold science and engineering degrees, as “women with such a degree are scarcely more likely to patent than women without”; and that c) closing the “patent gap” could “increase U.S. GDP per capita by 2.7%.”
No, closing the patent gap is not going to increase GDP.

Heather MacDonald writes:
Uh-oh. The New York Times has officially noticed an obvious feature of Silicon Valley start-ups: They’re headed by males. A Times article over the weekend on the origins of Instagram, the photo-sharing app acquired last week by Facebook for $1 billion, observed that “by and large,” the start-up culture “is a network of young men, many who attended Stanford and had the attention of the world’s biggest venture capitalists before they even left campus.” ...

Here’s what we will see over the coming months and years: A flood of articles and conferences exploring the “gender gap” in the high-tech sector; personal testimonies from disgruntled female undergrads and grad students about discrimination in the science fields; published rankings...
So would our GDP be any higher if more women were writing programs to share cell-phone photos? I doubt it.

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