Mercedes Delgado (Copenhagen Business School): Are Female Inventors Geographically Constrained? Gender Differences in Team Collocation
Abstract | The number of multi-location patents (i.e., team of U.S. co-inventors located in multiple cities) has increased sharply in the last 20 years in the U.S. economy. We investigate whether the growing geographical dispersion of teams creates frictions (coordination cost and time spent with far away co-inventors) that vary by gender. We hypothesize that female inventors are more geographically constrained than men (i.e., higher cost of temporary proximity by travelling), and these frictions might affect who female inventors collaborate with. We show that female inventors are more collocated (same-city) with the team of co-inventors than male inventors. This is the case for both new inventors (first patent) and experienced ones. There are important age dynamics: TheFemale-versus-Male inventor gap in team collocation increases with age. Women (and especially repeat inventors) are less collocated than men while having low risk of having children (age below 32), but women team collocation increases afterwards. In contrast, male inventors’ team collocation decreases continuously with age. We find evidence that the increase in gender gap collocation with age is driven by an earlier exit (stop patenting) of women who, early in their inventor career, worked in multi-location patents. Overall, these findings are consistent with women facing higher relative constrains later on in their careers when they might have more family obligations. Finally, the location of inventors in top technology clusters could help reduce these constraints since the degree of inventor team collocation is much higher in these clusters. Our work offers important insights for the work-from-anywhere debate.
Bio | Mercedes Delgado is Associate Professor of Strategy and Innovation at Copenhagen Business School (CBS), and a Research Affiliate at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Her research focuses on the relationship between the regional business environment and the performance of inventors, firms, regions, and countries. She examines the role of regional clusters—geographic concentrations of related industries, firms, and supporting institutions —in job creation, innovation, entrepreneurship, inclusivity, and resilience. Delgado has developed new methods for defining and mapping industry clusters and the supply chain economy. Her recent work explores the organizational and locational drivers of the inventor gender gap. Delgado’s work has been published in top economic, policy, strategy, and science journals.
Mercedes earned a PhD in Business Economics from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. She completed postdoctoral fellowships at Harvard Business School and the National Bureau of Economic Research’s Innovation Policy and the Economy Group.