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

  • Chu, Angus C.

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.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control.

Volume (Year): 35 (2011)
Issue (Month): 6 (June)
Pages: 876-890

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Handle: RePEc:eee:dyncon:v:35:y:2011:i:6:p:876-890
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jedc

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  1. Kwan, Yum K. & Lai, Edwin L. -C., 2003. "Intellectual property rights protection and endogenous economic growth," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 853-873, March.
  2. Li, Chol-Won, 2001. "On the Policy Implications of Endogenous Technological Progress," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(471), pages C164-79, May.
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  4. Danyang Xie, 2002. "On Time Inconsistency: A Technical Issue in Stackelberg Differential Games," Macroeconomics 0212004, EconWPA.
  5. Chu, Angus C., 2009. "Effects of Patent Length on R&D: A Quantitative DGE Analysis," MPRA Paper 16918, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Gene M Grossman & Edwin L Lai, 2004. "International Protection of Intellectual Property," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000000442, David K. Levine.
  7. Angus C. Chu, 2008. "Special Interest Politics And Intellectual Property Rights: An Economic Analysis Of Strengthening Patent Protection In The Pharmaceutical Industry," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(2), pages 185-215, 06.
  8. Karp, Larry S. & Lee, In Ho, 2000. "Time-consistent policies," CUDARE Working Paper Series 919, University of California at Berkeley, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Policy.
  9. Charles I. Jones, . "Growth: With or Without Scale Effects?," Working Papers 99001, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  10. Segerstrom, Paul S & Anant, T C A & Dinopoulos, Elias, 1990. "A Schumpeterian Model of the Product Life Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(5), pages 1077-91, December.
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  12. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1977. "Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 473-91, June.
  13. Futagami, Koichi & Iwaisako, Tatsuro, 2007. "Dynamic analysis of patent policy in an endogenous growth model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 132(1), pages 306-334, January.
  14. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter, 1992. "A Model of Growth Through Creative Destruction," Scholarly Articles 12490578, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  15. Klenow, Peter J., 1996. "Industry innovation: where and why," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 125-150, June.
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  18. Grossman, G.M. & Helpman, E., 1989. "Quality Ledders In The Theory Of Growth," Papers 148, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Public and International Affairs.
  19. O'Donoghue, Edward & Zweimüller, Josef, 1998. "Patents in a Model of Endogenous Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 1951, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  20. Cameron, G., 2000. "R&D and Growth at the Industry Level," Economics Papers 2000-w4, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
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