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Expropriation and Inventions: Appropriable Rents in the Absence of Property Rights


  • Anton, James J
  • Yao, Dennis A


The authors analyze the problem faced by a financially weak independent inventor when selling a valuable, but easily imitated, invention for which no property rights exist. The inventor can protect his or her intellectual property by negotiating a contingent contract (with a buyer) prior to revealing the invention or, alternatively, the inventor can reveal the invention and then negotiate with the newly informed buyer. Despite the risk of expropriation, the authors find that, in equilibrium, an inventor with little wealth can expect to appropriate a sizable share of the market value of the invention by adopting the latter approach. Copyright 1994 by American Economic Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Anton, James J & Yao, Dennis A, 1994. "Expropriation and Inventions: Appropriable Rents in the Absence of Property Rights," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 190-209, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:84:y:1994:i:1:p:190-209

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Coppinger, Vicki M & Smith, Vernon L & Titus, Jon A, 1980. "Incentives and Behavior in English, Dutch and Sealed-Bid Auctions," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 18(1), pages 1-22, January.
    2. Brookshire, David S & Coursey, Don L, 1987. "Measuring the Value of a Public Good: An Empirical Comparison of Elicitation Procedures," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 554-566, September.
    3. Don Coursey, 1987. "Markets and the measurement of value," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 55(3), pages 291-297, October.
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