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James Watt As Intellectual Monopolist: Comment On Boldrin And Levine

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  • George Selgin
  • John Turner

Abstract

In their 2003 Lawrence R. Klein Lecture, Michele Boldrin and David Levine argue that intellectual property rights may be damaging to social welfare. As empirical evidence for their theory they offer James Watt's steam engine patent, claiming that it delayed the Industrial Revolution by as much as two decades. We show that this claim, as well as the more general claim that Watt's story supports Boldrin and Levine's theory, rests upon a distorted summary of the historical record. Copyright 2006 by the Economics Department Of The University Of Pennsylvania And Osaka University Institute Of Social And Economic Research Association.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association in its journal International Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 47 (2006)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
Pages: 1341-1348

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Handle: RePEc:ier:iecrev:v:47:y:2006:i:4:p:1341-1348

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Cited by:
  1. Michele Boldrin & David K Levine, 2009. "Does Intellectual Monopoly Help Innovation," Levine's Bibliography 814577000000000423, UCLA Department of Economics.

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