The Atlantic

America’s Lost Einsteins

Millions of children from poor families who excel in math and science rarely live up to their potential—and that hurts everyone.
Source: Saul Loeb / AFP / Getty

Consider two American children, one rich and one poor, both brilliant. The rich one is much more likely to become an inventor, creating products that help improve America’s quality of life. The poor child probably will not.

That’s the conclusion of a by the Equality of Opportunity project, a team of researchers led by the Stanford economist Raj Chetty. Chetty and his team look at who becomes inventors in the United States, a career path that can contribute to vast improvements in Americans’ standard of living. They find that children from families in the the top 1 percent of income distributionare 10 times as likely to have filed for a patent as those from below-median-income families, and that white children are three times as likely to have filed a patent as black children.This means, they say, that there

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