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The Political Economy of Intellectual Property Treaties

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  • Suzanne Scotchmer

Abstract

Intellectual property treaties have two main types of provisions: national treatment of foreign inventors, and harmonization of protections. I address the positive question of when countries would want to treat foreign inventors the same as domestic inventors, and how their incentive to do so depends on reciprocity. I also investigate an equilibrium in which regional policy makers choose IP policies that serve regional interests, conditional on each other's policies. I compare these policies with a notion of what is optimal, and argue that harmonization will involve stronger IP protection than independent choices. Harmonization can either enhance or reduce global welfare. Levels of public and private R&D spending will be lower than if each country took account of the uncompensated externalities that its R&D spending confers on other countries. The more extensive protection engendered by attempts at harmonization are a partial remedy.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9114.

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Date of creation: Aug 2002
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Publication status: published as Scotchmer, Suzanne. "The Political Economy of Intellectual Property Treaties." Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, October 2004, 20(2): 415-37
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9114

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  1. Nancy Gallini & Suzanne Scotchmer, 2003. "Intellectual Property: When is it the Best Incentive System?," Levine's Working Paper Archive 618897000000000532, David K. Levine.
  2. Suzanne Scotchmer, 2002. "The Political Economy of Intellectual Property Treaties," Industrial Organization, EconWPA 0201004, EconWPA.
  3. Aoki, Reiko & Prusa, Thomas J., 1993. "International standards for intellectual property protection and R & D incentives," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 35(3-4), pages 251-273, November.
  4. Keith Maskus, 1998. "The international regulation of intellectual property," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, Springer, vol. 134(2), pages 186-208, June.
  5. Barbara J. Spencer & James A. Brander, 1982. "International R&D Rivalry and Industrial Strategy," Working Papers, Queen's University, Department of Economics 518, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  6. Kyle Bagwell & Robert W. Staiger, 1997. "An Economic Theory of GATT," NBER Working Papers 6049, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Dixit, Avinash & Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1997. "Common Agency and Coordination: General Theory and Application to Government Policy Making," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(4), pages 752-69, August.
  8. Moonsung Kang, 2000. "Patent Protection and Strategic Trade Policy," Trade Working Papers 21761, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  9. Elhanan Helpman, 1992. "Innovation, Imitation, and Intellectual Property Rights," NBER Working Papers 4081, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Grossman, Gene & Lai, Edwin, 2002. "International Protection of Intellectual Property," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 3118, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Moonsung Kang, 2000. "Patent Infringement and Strategic Trade Policies : R&D and Export Subsidies," Trade Working Papers 21759, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  12. Lai, Edwin L. -C. & Qiu, Larry D., 2003. "The North's intellectual property rights standard for the South?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 183-209, January.
  13. Keith E. Maskus, 2000. "Intellectual Property Rights in the Global Economy," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 99, July.
  14. Lanjouw, Jean O. & Cockburn, Iain M., 2001. "New Pills for Poor People? Empirical Evidence after GATT," World Development, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 265-289, February.
  15. Keith E. Maskus, 1993. "Intellectual property rights and the Uruguay Round," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q I, pages 10-25.
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