Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Ethnic Inventors: A Critical Survey of the Contribution of People of Middle Eastern Ethnic Backgrounds to the US Innovation System

Mahroum, Sami and Zahradnik, Georg and Dachs, Bernhard (2017): Ethnic Inventors: A Critical Survey of the Contribution of People of Middle Eastern Ethnic Backgrounds to the US Innovation System.

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Abstract

While the contributions of immigrants from Chinese, Indian and Latin American backgrounds to the US innovation system have been well documented, little exists on the contribution of people from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) to the US innovation system. This paper provides a critical survey of the extent people from the MENA region contribute to the US innovation system. Matching 2,500 MENA specific first names with patent documents from the World International Property Organization (WIPO), we provide evidence of the role this community plays in the US innovation system. We find that the share of inventors in total inventive activity with a MENA background has increased considerably in the last 20 years. They concentrate in California and tend to specialize in computers, communication and software, as well as in medical and veterinary sciences. They are also active in technology areas that are core competencies for their employers.

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