Modern growth theory puts invention on the center stage. Inventions are created by individuals, raising the question of whether we can increase the number of inventors. To answer this question, we study the causal effect of MSc engineering education on invention, using data on U.S. patents’ Finnish inventors and the distance to the nearest technical university as an instrument. We find a positive effect of engineering education on the propensity to patent and a negative OLS bias. Our counterfactual calculation suggests that establishing three new technical universities resulted in a 20% increase in the number of USPTO patents by Finnish inventors.

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