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The Political Economy of Intellectual Property Treaties

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  • Suzanne Scotchmer

Abstract

Intellectual property treaties create two types of obligations: for national treatment of foreign inventors and for certain harmonized protections. I investigate both the incentive to join such treaties and the incentive to harmonize. As compared to an equilibrium in which the countries' policy makers make independent choices, harmonization will generally strengthen protections. This analysis recognizes that public sponsorship is sometimes an efficient alternative to intellectual property. However, there are no institutions to harmonize public spending, and there are no international mechanisms to repatriate the spillovers it generates. As a consequence, there may be too little public sponsorship and too much intellectual property. A country's inclination to strengthen harmonized protections will depend both on its innovativeness (positively) and on the size of its domestic market (negatively). Copyright 2004, Oxford University Press.

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Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal The Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization.

Volume (Year): 20 (2004)
Issue (Month): 2 (October)
Pages: 415-437

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Handle: RePEc:oup:jleorg:v:20:y:2004:i:2:p:415-437

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  1. Kyle Bagwell & Robert W. Staiger, 1997. "An Economic Theory of GATT," NBER Working Papers 6049, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Keith Maskus, 1998. "The international regulation of intellectual property," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 134(2), pages 186-208, June.
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  6. Aoki, Reiko & Prusa, Thomas J., 1993. "International standards for intellectual property protection and R & D incentives," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3-4), pages 251-273, November.
  7. Scotchmer, Suzanne, 2001. "The Political Economy of Intellectual Property Treaties," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt1383g11z, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  8. Barbara J. Spencer & James A. Brander, 1982. "International R&D Rivalry and Industrial Strategy," Working Papers 518, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  9. Moonsung Kang, 2000. "Patent Infringement and Strategic Trade Policies : R&D and Export Subsidies," Trade Working Papers 21759, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  10. Moonsung Kang, 2000. "Patent Protection and Strategic Trade Policy," Trade Working Papers 21761, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  11. Lai, Edwin L. -C. & Qiu, Larry D., 2003. "The North's intellectual property rights standard for the South?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 183-209, January.
  12. Dixit, Avinash & Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1997. "Common Agency and Coordination: General Theory and Application to Government Policy Making," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(4), pages 752-69, August.
  13. Keith E. Maskus, 1993. "Intellectual property rights and the Uruguay Round," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q I, pages 10-25.
  14. Keith E. Maskus, 2000. "Intellectual Property Rights in the Global Economy," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 99, July.
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