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An Experiment on Protecting Intellectual Property

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  • Joy Buchanan

    ()
    (Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science and Department of Economics, George Mason University)

  • Bart 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 common when there is no IP protection, but IP protection in and of itself is neither necessary nor sufficient for generating wealth from the discovery of knowledge goods. Rather, individual entrepreneurship is the key. Length: 36

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science in its series Working Papers with number 1044.

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Date of creation: Feb 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:gms:wpaper:1044

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Keywords: intellectual property; experimental economics;

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Michele Boldrin & David K Levine, 2008. "Against Intellectual Monopoly," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000002371, UCLA Department of Economics.
  4. Richard Gilbert and Carl Shapiro., 1989. "Optimal Patent Length and Breadth," Economics Working Papers 89-102, University of California at Berkeley.
  5. 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.
  6. Sean Crockett & Vernon Smith & Bart Wilson, 2006. "Exchange and Specialization as a Discovery Process," Working Papers 1002, George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science, revised May 2006.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Taylor Jaworski & Bart J. Wilson, 2009. "Go West Young Man: Self-selection and Endogenous Property Rights," Working Papers 09-02, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Alberto Galasso & Mark Schankerman, 2014. "Patents and Cumulative Innovation: Causal Evidence from the Courts," NBER Working Papers 20269, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. 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.
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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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