A high-school inventor competes in a robot design competition at Javits Center in New York in 2014

Equally skilled children from lower income households are less likely to become inventors than their higher-income counterparts, according to a study published by the Equality of Opportunity project. Race and gender discrepancies were reported, as well. "These gaps don't seem to be about differences in ability to innovate — they seem directly related to environment," study author Raj Chetty told The Atlantic's Alana Semuels.

The bottom line: Lower income children, children of color, and female children aren't being encouraged to become inventors, according to the study authors. This means people who have the potential to innovate are entering other fields. And since innovation leads to economic growth, the gaps are harming the U.S. economy, they argue.

What they did: The researchers cross-referenced US patent applications from 1996-2014 with federal income tax returns, and used that data to trace inventors' life histories. All told, they looked at 1.2 million individuals.

What they found:

  • Children from lower income families are 10 times less likely to file a patent than children from high income families.
  • White children are 3 times more likely to file a patent than black children.
  • Children in lower-income neighborhoods are less likely to grow up around academics or inventors. Without those role models, the researchers say they're less likely to enter such fields.
  • Children are inspired by inventors who look like them. Girls were more likely to file patents if they grew up in an area with lots of female inventors, but not if they grew up in an area with male inventors.

Go deeper

Louisville police declare state of emergency as Breonna Taylor decision looms

A demonstrator holds up a sign of Breonna Taylor during a protest in Louisville, Kentucky. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

The Louisville police chief declared in a memo obtained by news outlets a "state of emergency" for the department on Monday to prepare for Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron's expected announcement on the Breonna Taylor case.

Of note: Louisville has witnessed more than 115 days of protests over the police killing of Taylor, an unarmed Black woman, with calls for all the officers involved to be charged.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 31,1833,800 — Total deaths: 962,793— Total recoveries: 21,348,410Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 6,833,800 — Total deaths: 199,818 — Total recoveries: 2,615,949 — Total tests: 95,841,281Map.
  3. Health: CDC says it mistakenly published guidance about COVID-19 spreading through air.
  4. Media: Conservative blogger who spread COVID-19 misinformation worked for Fauci's agency.
  5. Politics: House Democrats file legislation to fund government through Dec. 11.
  6. World: U.K. upgrades COVID alert level as Europe sees worrying rise in infections — "The Wake-Up Call" warns the West about the consequences of mishandling a pandemic.

Sen. Cory Gardner on vacant Supreme Court seat: "I will vote to confirm"

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) will vote to confirm President Trump's nominee to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, he announced in a statement Monday.

Why it matters: The development is a win for President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). It should mean Republicans are all but assured to have enough support to hold hearings for Trump's potential nominee.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!