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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

Broncos and 49ers the latest NFL teams impacted by coronavirus crisis

From left, Denver Broncos quarterbacks Drew Lock, Brett Rypien and Jeff Driskel during an August training session at UCHealth Training Center in Englewood, Colorado. Photo: Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown the NFL season into chaos, with the Denver Broncos' quarterbacks sidelined, the San Francisco 49ers left without a home or practice ground and much of the Baltimore Ravens team unavailable, per AP.

Driving the news: The Broncos confirmed in a statement Saturday night that quarterbacks Drew Lock, Brett Rypien and Blake Bortles were identified as "high-risk COVID-19 close contacts" and will follow the NFL's mandatory five-day quarantine, making them ineligible for Sunday's game against New Orleans.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: McConnell temporarily halts in-person lunches for GOP caucus.
  3. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in DecemberAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  4. Education: U.S. public school enrollment drops as pandemic persists.
  5. Cities: Surge in cases forces San Francisco to impose curfew — Los Angeles County issues stay-at-home order, limits gatherings.
  6. Sports: NFL bans in-person team activities Monday, Tuesday due to COVID-19 surge — NBA announces new coronavirus protocols.
  7. World: London police arrest more than 150 during anti-lockdown protests — Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.

Tony Hsieh, longtime Zappos CEO, dies at 46

Tony Hsieh. Photo: FilmMagic/FilmMagic

Tony Hsieh, the longtime ex-chief executive of Zappos, died on Friday after being injured in a house fire, his lawyer told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He was 46.

The big picture: Hsieh was known for his unique approach to management, and following the 2008 recession his ongoing investment and efforts to revitalize the downtown Las Vegas area.

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