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Software piracy, inequality and the poor: evidence from Africa

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  • Asongu Simplice

    ()
    (Yaoundé/Cameroun)

Abstract

Purpose – Poverty and inequality undoubtedly remain substantial challenges to economic and human developments amid growing emphasis on IPRs (with recent advances in ICTs) and good governance. In the first empirical study on the incidence of piracy on inequality in Africa, we examine how a plethora of factors (IPRs laws, education & ICTs and government quality) are instrumental in the piracy-inequality nexus. Design/methodology/approach – Two-Stage-Least Squares estimation approaches are applied in which piracy is instrumented with IPRs regimes (treaties), education & ICTs and government quality dynamics. Findings – The main finding suggests that, software piracy is good for the poor as it has a positive income-redistributive effect; consistent with economic and cultural considerations from recent literature. ICTs & education (dissemination of knowledge) are instrumental in this positive redistributive effect, while good governance mitigates inequality beyond the piracy channel. Practical implications – As a policy implication, in the adoption IPRs, sampled countries should take account of the role less stringent IPRs regimes play on income-redistribution through software piracy. Collateral benefits include among others, the cheap dissemination of knowledge through ICTs which African countries badly need in their quest to become ‘knowledge economies’. A caveat however is that, too much piracy may decrease incentives to innovate. Hence, the need to adopt tighter IPRs regimes in tandem with increasing income-equality. Originality/value – It is the first empirical assessment of the incidence of piracy on inequality in Africa: a continent with stubbornly high poverty and inequality rates.

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File URL: http://www.afridev.org/RePEc/agd/agd-wpaper/Software-piracy-inequality-and-the-poor.pdf
File Function: Revised version, 2013
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by African Governance and Development Institute. in its series Working Papers with number 12/035.

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Length: 35
Date of creation: 12 Sep 2012
Date of revision:
Publication status: Forthcoming in the Journal of Economic Studies
Handle: RePEc:agd:wpaper:12/035

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Keywords: Inequality; Piracy; Intellectual property rights; Africa;

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References

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  1. C. A. Depken & L. C. Simmons, 2004. "Social construct and the propensity for software piracy," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(2), pages 97-100.
  2. Albanesi, Stefania, 2007. "Inflation and inequality," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(4), pages 1088-1114, May.
  3. Maskus, Keith E. & Penubarti, Mohan, 1995. "How trade-related are intellectual property rights?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3-4), pages 227-248, November.
  4. Asongu Simplice, 2012. "Harmonizing IPRs on Software Piracy: Empirics of Trajectories in Africa," Working Papers 12/025, African Governance and Development Institute..
  5. Yang, Guifang & Maskus, Keith E., 2001. "Intellectual property rights, licensing, and innovation in an endogenous product-cycle model," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 169-187, February.
  6. Asongu Simplice, 2011. "Government Quality Determinants of Stock Market Performance in African Countries," Working Papers 11/019, African Governance and Development Institute..
  7. Asongu Simplice & Antonio R. Andrés, 2012. "Fighting software piracy: which governance tools matter in Africa?," Working Papers 12/017, African Governance and Development Institute..
  8. Linsu Kim, 2004. "The multifaceted evolution of Korean technological capabilities and its implications for contemporary policy," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(3), pages 341-363.
  9. Kranenburg,Hans,van & Hogenbrink,Annelies, 2003. "Determinants of Multimedia, Entertainment, and Business Software Copyright Piracy: A Cross-national Study," Research Memorandum 039, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
  10. Asongu Simplice, 2011. "Investment and Inequality in Africa: which financial channels are good for the poor?," Working Papers 11/015, African Governance and Development Institute..
  11. Dani Rodrik, 2008. "Second-Best Institutions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 100-104, May.
  12. Dyuti Banerjee & Ahmed Khalid & Jan-Egbert Sturm, 2005. "Socio-economic development and software piracy. An empirical assessment," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(18), pages 2091-2097.
  13. Walter G. Park & Juan Carlos Ginarte, 1997. "Intellectual Property Rights And Economic Growth," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 15(3), pages 51-61, 07.
  14. Asongu Simplice, 2012. "Fighting software piracy in Africa: how do legal origins and IPRs protection channels matter?," Working Papers 12/016, African Governance and Development Institute..
  15. Marron, Donald B & Steel, David G, 2000. "Which Countries Protect Intellectual Property? The Case of Software Piracy," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 38(2), pages 159-74, April.
  16. Bezmen, Trisha L. & Depken II, Craig A., 2006. "Influences on software piracy: Evidence from the various United States," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 90(3), pages 356-361, March.
  17. Andrés, Antonio R. & Goel, Rajeev K., 2012. "Does software piracy affect economic growth? Evidence across countries," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 284-295.
  18. By Ales BulÌr, 2001. "Income Inequality: Does Inflation Matter?," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 48(1), pages 5.
  19. Rajeev Goel & Michael Nelson, 2009. "Determinants of software piracy: economics, institutions, and technology," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 34(6), pages 637-658, December.
  20. Rod Falvey & Neil Foster & David Greenaway, 2006. "Intellectual Property Rights and Economic Growth," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(4), pages 700-719, November.
  21. Gould, David M. & Gruben, William C., 1996. "The role of intellectual property rights in economic growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 323-350, March.
  22. Simplice A, Asongu, 2012. "Fighting software piracy: which IPRs laws (treaties) matter in Africa?," MPRA Paper 43590, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  23. Peitz, Martin & Waelbroeck, Patrick, 2006. "Piracy of digital products: A critical review of the theoretical literature," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 449-476, November.
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Cited by:
  1. Asongu Simplice, 2013. "The impact of mobile phone penetration on African inequality," Working Papers 13/021, African Governance and Development Institute..
  2. Asongu Simplice, 2013. "Modeling the future of knowledge economy: evidence from SSA and MENA countries," Working Papers 13/015, African Governance and Development Institute..

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