Working Paper

Is Innovation a Good Thing? The Innovation Gap in Pink and Black

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Innovation, the commercialization of invention, is both desirable and necessary for growth and higher living standards in modern economies. Innovation’s contribution to the economy is being measured increasingly more precisely, and its contribution has been assessed as
economically important and growing.

Yet, participation in the innovation economy is not evenly distributed. Women and African Americans participate at each stage of the innovation process – from education to patent activity to startups – at lower rates than their counterparts. These distributional issues provide further evidence of the wide income and wealth gaps in the United States and of their potential for widening.