United States

OECD Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard 2009: United States Highlights


Financing Innovation

In the first quarter of 2009, US venture capital investment plunged 60% from a year earlier. The drop was particularly dramatic in the communication industries (-80%). The small increase in the second quarter of 2009 shows a timid inversion of this trend.

US-quoted companies reported a reduction of about 7% in their R&D expenditures in the first quarter of 2009. The decrease continued in the second quarter 2009 in the semiconductors industry (-13%) and the communications equipment and services (-11%).

The United States accounted for almost 40% of the growth of R&D expenditures in the OECD between 1997 and 2007. US R&D intensity (2.7% of GDP) remains well above the G7 average (2.2%).

>> Download all the charts and data in Excel (figures from 2005-2008)

Targeting New Growth Areas

In 2004-06, almost half of world patent applications in medical technologies were invented in the United States, twice as many as in the European Union. The United States also accounted for over 40% of all pharmaceutical, nanotechnology and biotechnology patent applications worldwide.

On the contrary, the US share in environmental technologies did not exceed 18%.


Competing in the World Economy

New trademarks filed at the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) dropped by 20% in 2008. In the first semester of 2009, their growth rate remained negative and below –10%. The decrease was particularly pronounced in finance and insurance, where trademarks fell by 30% in 2008.

In 2007, trade surplus in high technology industries represented around 3% of total manufacturing trade. The United States were also the largest importer of ICT goods and services.



Connecting to Global Research

The degree of international cooperation in innovation in the United States is one of the lowest among all OECD countries. On average, 22% of patents invented in an OECD country have a co-inventor from another country. In the United States, this share is a half (about 11%).

The size of the domestic market for “ideas” may help to explain this difference: for the European Union as a whole (EU27), the share of patents with a foreign co-inventor is comparable to the United States.



Investing in the Knowledge Economy

In 2006 the United States awarded 28% of all doctorate degrees in the OECD, a share significantly smaller than the European Union (about 50%).

Over 25% of doctoral students in the United States are foreigners, the largest community worldwide. Asian students represent the majority of foreign students.

In the United States, a worker with a bachelor degree and above earns 2.7 times more than a worker with primary education and below. This is the largest wage premium from tertiary education among G7 countries and the second largest in the OECD.

Among doctoral holders, the female employment rate is much lower than the male rate in the United States – 92 against 98%.



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