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Software piracy, inequality and the poor: evidence from Africa

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  • Simplice A, Asongu

Abstract

Purpose – Poverty and inequality undoubtedly remain substantial challenges to economic and human developments amid growing emphasis on IPRs (with recent advances in ICTs) and good governance. In the first empirical study on the incidence of piracy on inequality in Africa, we examine how a plethora of factors (IPRs laws, education & ICTs and government quality) are instrumental in the piracy-inequality nexus. Design/methodology/approach – Two-Stage-Least Squares estimation approaches are applied in which piracy is instrumented with IPRs regimes (treaties), education & ICTs and government quality dynamics. Findings – The main finding suggests that, software piracy is good for the poor as it has a positive income-redistributive effect; consistent with economic and cultural considerations from recent literature. ICTs & education (dissemination of knowledge) are instrumental in this positive redistributive effect, while good governance mitigates inequality beyond the piracy channel. Practical implications – As a policy implication, in the adoption IPRs, sampled countries should take account of the role less stringent IPRs regimes play on income-redistribution through software piracy. Collateral benefits include among others, the cheap dissemination of knowledge through ICTs which African countries badly need in their quest to become ‘knowledge economies’. A caveat however is that, too much piracy may decrease incentives to innovate. Hence, the need to adopt tighter IPRs regimes in tandem with increasing income-equality. Originality/value – It is the first empirical assessment of the incidence of piracy on inequality in Africa: a continent with stubbornly high poverty and inequality rates.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 43860.

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Date of creation: 12 Sep 2012
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:43860

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Keywords: Inequality; Piracy; Intellectual property rights; Africa;

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Cited by:
  1. Simplice A Asongu, 2013. "Modeling the future of knowledge economy: evidence from SSA and MENA countries," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 33(1), pages 612-624.
  2. Asongu Simplice, 2013. "The impact of mobile phone penetration on African inequality," Working Papers 13/021, African Governance and Development Institute..

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