DP9185 Why Don't Women Patent?

Author(s): Jean-Philippe Garant, Hannah Herman, Jennifer Hunt, David Munroe
Publication Date: October 2012
Keyword(s): Gender, Innovation
JEL(s): J15, O31
Programme Areas: Labour Economics
Link to this Page: www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=9185

We investigate women's underrepresentation among holders of commercialized patents: only 5.5% of holders of such patents are female. Using the National Survey of College Graduates 2003, we find only 7% of the gap in patenting rates is accounted for by women's lower probability of holding any science or engineering degree, because women with such a degree are scarcely more likely to patent than women without. Differences among those without a science or engineering degree account for 15%, while 78% is accounted for by differences among those with a science or engineering degree. For the latter group, we find that women's underrepresentation in engineering and in jobs involving development and design explain much of the gap.