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Access to vs. exclusion from knowledge: Intellectual property, efficiency and social justice

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  • Ramello, Giovanni B.

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Abstract

The main rationale for intellectual property relies on the thesis of the incentive to create. Creators and inventors are economic agents attracted by the returns they expect from their effort. This depiction is practical, but does not give due weight to the complexity of knowledge production. This work does not contest the potential benefit of the opportunity for creators and inventors to reap some profit from their work. Rather, it considers the idiosyncratic nature of knowledge, which is simultaneously input, output and productive technology, and is closely linked to the social dimension. This provides further insight into the production process and suggests a significantly different framework for policy. More specifically, because of the increasing returns governing creative technology, the efficiency criterion used to guide the economic choice calls for weak intellectual property rights, thus preserving wide access to knowledge. A stronger appropriation regime would significantly impair the total outcome of the creative processes. Interestingly, this appears to apply equally from a social justice perspective, perhaps in an effortless solution to the age-old trade-off between economic efficiency and social justice.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS in its series POLIS Working Papers with number 90.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:uca:ucapdv:90

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Web page: http://polis.unipmn.it

Related research

Keywords: intellectual property rights; knowledge production; increasing returns; knowledge sharing; productivity; social justice;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Ramello, Giovanni B., 2010. "Property rights and externalities: The uneasy case of knowledge," POLIS Working Papers 149, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS.
  2. Daron Acemoglu & Davide Ticchi & Andrea Vindigni, 2008. "A Theory of Military Dictatorships," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 74, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
  3. Privileggi, Fabio, 2007. "The cutoff policy of taxation when CRRA taxpayers differ in risk aversion coefficients and income: a proof," POLIS Working Papers 99, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS.
  4. Piero Cavaleri & Michael Keren & Giovanni B. Ramello & Vittorio Valli, 2009. "Publishing an E-Journal on a Shoe String: Is It a Sustainable Project?," Economic Analysis and Policy (EAP), Queensland University of Technology (QUT), School of Economics and Finance, vol. 39(1), pages 89-101, March.
  5. Ticchi, Davide & Vindigni, Andrea, 2007. "War and endogenous democracy," POLIS Working Papers 97, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS.
  6. Stefania Ottone & Ferruccio Ponzano, 2011. "How people perceive the Welfare State: a real-effort experiment," International Review of Economics, Springer, vol. 58(2), pages 165-183, June.
  7. Marchese, Carla, 2008. "The limits to growth then and now," POLIS Working Papers 105, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS.
  8. Montefiori, Marcello & Resta, Marina, 2008. "Social influence and neighbourhood effects in the health care market," POLIS Working Papers 98, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS.
  9. Ottone, Stefania & Ponzano, Ferruccio, 2007. "Non-self-centered inequity aversion matters. A model," POLIS Working Papers 91, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS.

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