« Freakonomics Radio

67. The Patent Gap

2012-03-22 | 🔗
Women hold fewer than one in 10 patents. Why? And what are we missing out on?
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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this is for economics, radio on marketplace: here's the host of marketplace. I really don T know but a free economic radio. That moment in the broadcast. Every couple of weeks where we talk to Stephen Abner, the co author of the books and the blog of the same name, it is the hidden side of everything. Dumber walk back. Thank you die. I want to talk to you about this economic buzz word. These days, innovation area, we ve got to innovate our way back to greatness. Do you know who's got the most room. For improvement in the innovation field. You and me baby. That's that's that's! The sad truth is that. But if you look at the data on patents, ok, patent filing it turns out that women are responsible for only about seven and a half per cent, more patents file? Seventy there I mean. That's amazing. That's leave ninety three something percent for men, that's ridiculous, where ninety two, but does not astronomers have got,
has to be science and engineering right and the lack of women therein yeah. That's a very sensible first thought: not how you doing better, but it's a surprising fact. The fact is that even women, science and engineering degrees are much more likely to file a patent than women with other degrees. Now Jenny, hunters and economists Rutgers. She says that one big factor is that you just don't find a lot of women in the kind of sweet spot jobs within an industry that led to a lot of patent filing men, a more likely to be in jobs involving design, work or development work, so they d and they aren t and even within given fields of study. Women are less likely to be in those job
And that also reduces their patenting now. You know this idea. I actually explains a lot of the male female wage gap across the board in different industries, whether its businesses or medicine or education, women end up gravitating toward the lower paid jobs within those fields. So you know, say a general practice: physician, verses, assert your well I'd, so is that women being steered away from those jobs? Is that subtle discrimination, or is it women making their career and family choice that men seldom make? I mean there's lock on all right. It is all of the above, certainly probably most of the latter. A lot of it is by choice, but not all that some of it is discrimination, but the bigger pointed Jenny Hunt is making the patent data. Is it by having such a low rate of female patenting even within the science and engineering fields, the? U S is missing an opportunity, so she argues that closing the male female patenting gap in science and engineering would have a dramatic
the effect on the economy that it might live gdp per capita by as much as two point, seven percent, which is which is a huge job. Given economies grow in these days or or not, I massive. How do we get there? It's interesting there's a lot of research showing that men are bigger risk takers than women. Now I talk to an economics professor and in Britain her name is Alison Booth and she had cooked up an experiment to look into this male female risk gap. She randomly assigned a bunch of first year economic students to either single sex classes or CO ed classes. So there were all female groups, all male groups in mixed all randomly selected. Then she had each of the students take a test to determine their baseline level of risk aversion and then, after eight weeks of class, she gave all the students the same tests and here's what she learned. We got a girl finger fact great Oliver, I heard
can see hurting the same. They serve fairies who were in single group. There was only the girls invariably higher educational good, who were making fewer risky choice, that's amazing. Two months away from boys are, or men and women want more risk men seemed to compete better when their competing against women, and once you bring men into the equation, they kind of dialogue download. But that's what we're signal. Other research and wild zones or give me back to patents and innovation no well. How do we get there? Well, you know: here's one thought if I'm a Google or a g of the? U S and I truly want to maximize my resources really get the most out of all my employs. I might
something that so old fashion, that old strike a lot of people is truly repugnant. I might actually segregate my workforce. I might actually let my sharpest women set up shop separately away from the men and just see what kind of wonderful stuff they can produce on their own. United give your time. But if it be actually interesting, Stephen done or economics dot com is, the website will seem cutlery. Ok, I thanks very much
Transcript generated on 2021-03-16.