Workforce age and inventive performance: the case of European regions

Katharina H. Frosch, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich

The capacity to bring forth pioneering technological advances appears to be a young men’s game. Yet there exists only scarce evidence on aggregate innovative performance of firms, regions or countries. Based on patent counts for 146 European regions between 1995 and 2003, we study how regions’ inventive performance is related to the different types and qualities of knowledge as provided by young, prime age and senior workers. In this, age effects are allowed to vary for different types of knowledge, and imperfect substitutability with respect to age and knowledge fields is assumed. First results from a pooled model indicate that both general and technological knowledge drives inventive output in European regions, with the effect of technological knowledge being four times stronger than for general academic knowledge. However, our findings suggest that technological knowledge looses its innovation-enhancing effect at older ages.

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Presented in Session 38: Workforce ageing: consequences and responses