Are Inventors Better CEOs? Evidence from China


  • Qifeng Zhao Institute of Quantitative & Technological Economics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing, China
  • Qianfeng Luo Rural Development Institute, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing, China
  • Long Wang China Institute for Educational Finance Research, Peking University, Beijing, China
  • Wenyin Chen Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization, Chiba, Japan



Inventor CEOs; Firm performance; Patents; Innovation efficiency; Total factor productivity


This study investigates the impact of inventor CEOs on firm performance using a manually collected database of firms' inventors. Our findings reveal that, on average, firms with inventor CEOs experience a one- and two-percentage-point increase in ROA and ROE, respectively, compared to firms with noninventor CEOs. To address potential endogeneity issues, we employ turnover analysis, an instrumental variable approach, and propensity score matching. The estimation results suggest that inventor CEOs significantly enhance firm performance by fostering innovation and total factor productivity. This research contributes novel evidence on the relationship between inventor CEOs and firm performance.


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How to Cite

Zhao, Q., Luo, Q., Wang, L., & Chen, W. (2023). Are Inventors Better CEOs? Evidence from China. Review of Economic Assessment, 2(1), 1–24.