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Prizes and patents: using market signals to provide incentives for innovations

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  • V.V. Chari
  • Mikhail Golosov
  • Aleh Tsyviski

Abstract

Innovative activities have public good characteristics in the sense that the cost of producing the innovation is high compared to the cost of producing subsequent units. Moreover, knowledge of how to produce subsequent units is widely known once the innovation has occurred and is, therefore, non-rivalrous. The main question of this paper is whether mechanisms can be found which exploit market information to provide appropriate incentives for innovation. The ability of the mechanism designer to exploit such information depends crucially on the ability of the innovator to manipulate market signals. We show that if the innovator cannot manipulate market signals, then the efficient levels of innovation can be implemented without deadweight losses - for example, by using appropriately designed prizes. If the innovator can use bribes, buybacks, or other ways of manipulating market signals, patents are necessary.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its series Working Papers with number 673.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmwp:673

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Keywords: Public goods ; Patents;

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References

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  1. Shavell, Steven & van Ypersele, Tanguy, 2001. "Rewards versus Intellectual Property Rights," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 44(2), pages 525-47, October.
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  3. Helpman, Elhanan, 1993. "Innovation, Imitation, and Intellectual Property Rights," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(6), pages 1247-80, November.
  4. Paul M Romer, 1999. "Endogenous Technological Change," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2135, David K. Levine.
  5. Boldrin,Michele & Levine,David K., 2008. "Against Intellectual Monopoly," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521879286, December.
  6. Llobet, G. & Hopenhayn, H. & Mitchell, M., 2000. "Rewarding Sequential Innovators: Prizes, Patents and Buyouts," Papers 0012, Centro de Estudios Monetarios Y Financieros-.
  7. Aghion, Philippe & Harris, Christopher & Vickers, John, 1997. "Competition and growth with step-by-step innovation: An example," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(3-5), pages 771-782, April.
  8. O'Donoghue, Edward & Zweimüller, Josef, 1998. "Patents in a Model of Endogenous Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 1951, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Michael Kremer, 1998. "Patent Buyouts: A Mechanism For Encouraging Innovation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1137-1167, November.
  10. McAfee, R Preston & Reny, Philip J, 1992. "Correlated Information and Mechanism Design," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(2), pages 395-421, March.
  11. Horowitz, Andrew W & Lai, Edwin L-C, 1996. "Patent Length and the Rate of Innovation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 37(4), pages 785-801, November.
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  13. Lacker, Jeffrey M & Weinberg, John A, 1989. "Optimal Contracts under Costly State Falsification," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1345-63, December.
  14. Moore, John & Repullo, Rafael, 1988. "Subgame Perfect Implementation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(5), pages 1191-1220, September.
  15. Kremer, Michael R., 1998. "Patent Buyouts: A Mechanism for Encouraging Innovation," Scholarly Articles 3693705, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  16. McAfee, R Preston & McMillan, John & Reny, Philip J, 1989. "Extracting the Surplus in the Common-Value Auction," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(6), pages 1451-59, November.
  17. Futagami, Koichi & Iwaisako, Tatsuro, 2007. "Dynamic analysis of patent policy in an endogenous growth model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 132(1), pages 306-334, January.
  18. Aghion, Philippe, et al, 2001. "Competition, Imitation and Growth with Step-by-Step Innovation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(3), pages 467-92, July.
  19. Judd, Kenneth L, 1985. "On the Performance of Patents," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(3), pages 567-85, May.
  20. Wright, Brian Davern, 1983. "The Economics of Invention Incentives: Patents, Prizes, and Research Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(4), pages 691-707, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Acemoglu, Daron, 2012. "Introduction to economic growth," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(2), pages 545-550.
  2. Michael Kremer & Heidi Williams, 2010. "Incentivizing Innovation: Adding to the Tool Kit," Innovation Policy and the Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 10(1), pages 1 - 17.
  3. Mitchell, Matthew & Zhang, Yuzhe, 2012. "Shared Rights and Technological Progress," MPRA Paper 36537, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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