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Strategies That Work When Property Rights Don't

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  • Bharat Anand
  • Alexander Galetovic

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Abstract

In many sectors property rights over knowledge and information are weak as they are embodied in employees, competitors can copy or customers can pirate. Yet comprehensive studies show that firms systematically invest in these assets. We offer a simple taxonomy of strategies that firms use to cope with weak property rights. We classify these strategies in three groups: (i) Some firms threaten offenders with strong competition. (ii) Other firms exploit complementarities and offer potential offenders a better deal than they can get elsewhere. (iii) And yet other firms exploit weak property rights and make profits on complementary assets or products that they can own. We go beyond taxonomy by showing when a particular strategy works. It depends systematically on the characteristics of both the asset and the investing firm.

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Paper provided by Centro de Economía Aplicada, Universidad de Chile in its series Documentos de Trabajo with number 168.

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Date of creation: 2003
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Handle: RePEc:edj:ceauch:168

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  1. Gallini, Nancy & Scotchmer, Suzanne, 2001. "Intellectual Property: When Is It the Best Incentive System?," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt9wx2c2hz, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
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