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Watt, Again? Boldrin and Levine Still Exaggerate the Adverse Effect of Patents on the Progress of Steam Power

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  • Selgin George

    (Terry College of Business, University of Georgia)

  • Turner John L.

    (Terry College of Business, University of Georgia)

Abstract

In an earlier comment on Boldrin and Levines 2003 lecture on patents and their effect on technology, we observed that their account of James Watts influence on the progress of steam technology contained factual errors which tended to exaggerate the negative consequences of Watts patent. We concluded that it was far from obvious that a corrected account would support Boldrin and Levines bold conjectures. While Boldrin and Levines 2008 Against Intellectual Monopoly begins with a new version of Watts story that claims to take our earlier criticisms into account, here we assess that version and conclude that it shares many of the shortcomings of the original.

Suggested Citation

  • Selgin George & Turner John L., 2009. "Watt, Again? Boldrin and Levine Still Exaggerate the Adverse Effect of Patents on the Progress of Steam Power," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 5(3), pages 1101-1113, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:rlecon:v:5:y:2009:i:3:n:7
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. George Selgin & John Turner, 2006. "James Watt As Intellectual Monopolist: Comment On Boldrin And Levine," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 47(4), pages 1341-1348, November.
    2. Suzanne Scotchmer, 1991. "Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: Cumulative Research and the Patent Law," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 29-41, Winter.
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