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Gaps in opportunity for talented kids with low socioeconomic status don’t just hold back poor, female, black, or Latino children as individuals — they also impose potentially enormous losses to society as a whole. That’s the conclusion of groundbreaking empirical research published today by a team of leading economists from the Equality of Opportunity Project that Vox got an exclusive early look at.

A unique combination of data sets for the first time lets us see more about who is — and, crucially, is not — able to successfully pursue a career as an inventor, and thus learn more about what’s arguably the biggest mystery in all of economics.

Nothing matters more for economics and human living standards than innovation. It’s innovation that has allowed us to cure diseases and extend life spans. It’s innovation that has drastically increased the pace of transportation and communication, and ultimately it’s innovation that has let most people do high-wage work rather than subsistence agriculture.

Groundbreaking empirical research shows where innovation really comes from

Breaking down barriers for underrepresented kids could quadruple America’s pool of inventors.


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