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The welfare cost of one-size-fits-all patent protection

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  • Chu, Angus C.

Abstract

To analyze the welfare gain from allowing for differentiated patent protection across sectors, this study develops a two-sector quality-ladder growth model in which patent breadth is a policy variable and derives optimal patent breadth under two patent regimes. We show that (a) uniform optimal patent breadth is a weighted average of sector-specific optimal patent breadth and (b) sector-specific optimal patent breadth is larger in the sector that has a larger market size and more technological opportunities. To derive the optimal policy, we allow for an arbitrary path of patent breadth and derive the optimal path by solving a Stackelberg differential game. We find that the optimal path of patent breadth under each patent regime is stationary, time-consistent and subgame perfect. Finally, we perform a numerical investigation and find that even a moderate degree of asymmetry across sectors can generate a significant welfare cost of uniform patent protection.

Suggested Citation

  • Chu, Angus C., 2011. "The welfare cost of one-size-fits-all patent protection," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 35(6), pages 876-890, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:dyncon:v:35:y:2011:i:6:p:876-890
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Economic growth R&D Uniform patent protection Time-consistent patent policy;

    JEL classification:

    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

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