Seminar  |  12/02/2020 | 3:00 p.m.  –  4:15 p.m.

Innovation & Entrepreneurship Seminar: Is the Patent System an Even Playing Field?

Gaétan de Rassenfosse (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne)


Seminars currently take place in online format (see seminar page).

The patent system underpins the business model of some of the fastest-growing companies. Used appropriately, it should support frontier technologies and nurture new firms. Used perniciously, it can stifle innovation and protect established technological behemoths. We analyze patent examination decisions at the American, European, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese patent offices and find evidence that patent attorneys have a surprisingly significant role in the patent system. Our results suggest that some forces within the examination system maintain the uneven playing field by allocating monopoly rights to inventors with better access to influential attorneys, rather than leveling it by favoring inventors with better, non-obvious ideas. Attorney quality is most important, vis-à-vis invention quality, in less codified and more rapidly changing technology areas such as software and ICT. Moreover, attorney quality is more important when invention quality is low. 


Contact Person: Marina Chugunova

Seminar  |  12/09/2020 | 3:00 p.m.  –  4:15 p.m.

Innovation & Entrepreneurship Seminar: COVID-19 Disruptions Disproportionately Affect Female Academics

Olga Shurchkov (Wellesley College)


Seminars currently take place in online format (see seminar page).

The rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent counter-measures, such as school closures, shift to working from home, and social distancing are disrupting economic activity around the world.  As with other major economic shocks, there are winners and losers, leading to increased inequality across certain groups.  In this project, we investigate the effects of COVID-19 on the gender gap in productivity among academics. First, we track the patterns of publications and working paper series submissions of male and female authors before and after COVID-19, performing a simple difference-in-difference analysis to see whether the trends diverge after COVID-19. Preliminary findings from economics suggest that female economists experienced significant declines in submissions in the early months of the pandemic, relative to the mean.  Second, we conduct a broad survey of academics across various disciplines to collect more nuanced data on the respondents’ circumstances, such as spouse employment, the number and age of children, and time use. We find that female academics, particularly those who have children, report a disproportionate reduction in time dedicated to research relative to comparable men and women without children. Both men and women report substantial increases in childcare and housework burdens, but women experienced significantly larger increases relative to men.


Contact person: Marina Chugunova

Workshop  |  12/17/2020, 9:00 a.m.  –  12/18/2020, 4:00 p.m.

RISE – 3rd Research on Innovation, Science and Entrepreneurship Workshop

Keynote: Rosemarie Ziedonis (Boston University & NBER)

On 17/18 December 2020, the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition will host the 3rd Research on Innovation, Science and Entrepreneurship Workshop, an annual workshop for Ph.D. students and Junior Post-docs in Economics and Management.


The goal of the RISE3 Workshop is to stimulate an in-depth discussion of a select number of empirical research papers. It offers Ph.D. students and Junior Post-docs an opportunity to present their work and to receive feedback.


Keynote speaker of the RISE3 Workshop is Rosemarie Ziedonis (Boston University & NBER).


Get the Program here.
See RISE Workshop.

Conference  |  06/07/2021, 9:00 a.m.  –  06/09/2021, 6:00 p.m.

Munich Summer Institute 2021

The Munich Summer Institute 2021 will take place from 7 to 9 June 2021. The call for papers will be released in late 2020. The program will be available in the spring of 2021. More information on the MSI website.