MarketWatch: Lack of Diversity in Patent Holders Means ‘Half of the Population’ Isn’t Getting Needs Met, Economist Lisa Cook Says
Innovation holds the promise of economic prosperity for emerging inventors — but for some, seeing their idea come to fruition remains out of reach.
“Throughout history, women and underrepresented minorities have not been able to participate fully in each stage of the innovation process,” Lisa Cook, a professor of economics and international relations at Michigan State University, told MarketWatch. “We have to make sure that people understand that they have creativity, and their ideas will be taken seriously.”
Diversity gaps in the U.S. patent system persist, in part, because of an absence of data on patent applicants. This lack of transparency has meant that patent holders are predominantly white, maleand wealthy.
A recent study found that women, especially African-American and Latina women, obtain patents at significantly lower rates than men; people of color get approved for patents less often than white people; and individuals from lower-income families are less likely to acquire a patent than those who grew up in affluent families.
Cook’s expertise on a range of macroeconomic issues earned her roles at the White House Council of Economic Advisers under former President Barack Obama and on President Biden’s transition team.