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An Experiment on Protecting Intellectual Property

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Author Info

  • Joy A. Buchanan

    ()
    (Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science, George Mason University)

  • Bart J. Wilson

    ()
    (Economic Science Institute, Chapman University)

Abstract

We conduct a laboratory experiment to explore whether the protection of intellectual property (IP) incentivizes people to create non-rivalrous knowledge goods, foregoing the production of other rivalrous goods. In the contrasting treatment with no IP protection, participants are free to resell and remake non-rivalrous knowledge goods originally created by others. We find that creators reap substantial profits when IP is protected and that rampant pirating is not uncommon when there is no IP protection. But most importantly, we find that IP protection in and of itself is neither necessary nor sufficient for generating wealth from the discovery of knowledge goods.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Chapman University, Economic Science Institute in its series Working Papers with number 12-09.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:chu:wpaper:12-09

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Keywords: intellectual property; experimental economics;

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References

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  1. Petra Moser, 2005. "How Do Patent Laws Influence Innovation? Evidence from Nineteenth-Century World's Fairs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1214-1236, September.
  2. Joshua S. Gans & David H. Hsu & Scott Stern, 2002. "When Does Start-Up Innovation Spur the Gale of Creative Destruction?," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 33(4), pages 571-586, Winter.
  3. Galasso, Alberto & Schankerman, Mark, 2013. "Patents and Cumulative Innovation:Causal Evidence from the Courts," IIR Working Paper 13-16, Institute of Innovation Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  4. Sean Crockett & VernonL. Smith & BartJ. Wilson, 2009. "Exchange and Specialisation as a Discovery Process," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(539), pages 1162-1188, 07.
  5. Palich, Leslie E. & Ray Bagby, D., 1995. "Using cognitive theory to explain entrepreneurial risk-taking: Challenging conventional wisdom," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 10(6), pages 425-438, November.
  6. Dan Lovallo & Colin Camerer, 1999. "Overconfidence and Excess Entry: An Experimental Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 306-318, March.
  7. Kimbrough, Erik O. & Smith, Vernon L. & Wilson, Bart J., 2010. "Exchange, theft, and the social formation of property," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 74(3), pages 206-229, June.
  8. Ederer, Florian & Manso, Gustavo, 2009. "Is Pay-For-Performance Detrimental to Innovation?," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt03t787q9, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  9. Taylor Jaworski & Bart J. Wilson, 2013. "Go West Young Man: Self-Selection and Endogenous Property Rights," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 886-904, April.
  10. Richard Gilbert & Carl Shapiro, 1990. "Optimal Patent Length and Breadth," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(1), pages 106-112, Spring.
  11. Josh Lerner, 2009. "The Empirical Impact of Intellectual Property Rights on Innovation: Puzzles and Clues," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 343-48, May.
  12. Bart J. Wilson & Taylor Jaworski & Karl Schurter & Andrew Smyth, 2010. "The Ecological and Civil Mainsprings of Property: An Experimental Economic History of Whalers’ Rules of Capture," Working Papers 10-12, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
  13. Michele Boldrin & David K Levine, 2008. "Against Intellectual Monopoly," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000002371, UCLA Department of Economics.
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Cited by:
  1. Bettina Klose & Dan Kovenock, 2012. "Extremism Drives Out Moderation," Working Papers 12-10, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.

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