The role of experience and talent in the quality of an invention

  • Rita Maria Paredes (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


The purpose of this dissertation is to understand the role of innate talent and acquired expertise in the quality of an invention. The main argument is that ability and expertise positively interact in affecting the inventions’ quality. In other words, an individual who possesses innate ability is better positioned to take advantage from acquired expertise. This study was conducted on a random sample of 5144 European inventors from 1978 to 1999, for which I have information regarding all their previous patented inventions. To assess an invention’s quality, I referred to the number of forward citations of an invention, and to measure innate ability I followed a two-steps empirical strategy: first of all, I performed an OLS and estimated the fixed effect as a proxy for individual ability. Secondly, I used a Poisson model in which I included the estimated fixed effect, interacted with three measures of experience: stock of past inventions, breadth of social experience and breadth of technological experience. Empirical findings suggest that innate ability combined with acquired expertise (measured as the stock of past inventions) and breadth of social experience have a positive impact on the quality of an invention.
Date of Award2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorRaffaele Conti (Supervisor)


  • Mestrado em Gestão

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