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When does elastic labor supply cause an inverted-U effect of patents on innovation?


  • Chu, Angus C.
  • Pan, Shiyuan
  • Sun, Minjuan


This study analyzes how patent protection affects innovation in an R&D-based growth model with elastic labor supply. We find that increasing patent breadth may generate an inverted-U effect on innovation depending on whether the model features the knowledge-driven or lab-equipment innovation process. This result highlights an important interaction between elastic labor supply and the innovation process through which patent protection has an inverted-U effect as documented in recent empirical studies.

Suggested Citation

  • Chu, Angus C. & Pan, Shiyuan & Sun, Minjuan, 2012. "When does elastic labor supply cause an inverted-U effect of patents on innovation?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(1), pages 211-213.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolet:v:117:y:2012:i:1:p:211-213 DOI: 10.1016/j.econlet.2012.04.082

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Furukawa, Yuichi, 2007. "The protection of intellectual property rights and endogenous growth: Is stronger always better?," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 31(11), pages 3644-3670, November.
    2. Ryo Horii & Tatsuro Iwaisako, 2007. "Economic Growth with Imperfect Protection of Intellectual Property Rights," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 90(1), pages 45-85, January.
    3. 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.
    4. Maggie Xiaoyang Chen & Murat Iyigun, 2011. "Patent Protection and Strategic Delays in Technology Development: Implications for Economic Growth," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 78(1), pages 211-232, July.
    5. Josh Lerner, 2009. "The Empirical Impact of Intellectual Property Rights on Innovation: Puzzles and Clues," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 343-348, May.
    6. Ted O'Donoghue & Josef Zweimueller, 2004. "Patents in a Model of Endogenous Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 81-123, March.
    7. Richard Gilbert & Carl Shapiro, 1990. "Optimal Patent Length and Breadth," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(1), pages 106-112, Spring.
    8. Luis A. Rivera-Batiz & Paul M. Romer, 1991. "Economic Integration and Endogenous Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 531-555.
    9. Ai-Ting Goh & Jacques Olivier, 2002. "Optimal Patent Protection in a Two-Sector Economy," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 43(4), pages 1191-1214, November.
    10. Furukawa, Yuichi, 2010. "Intellectual property protection and innovation: an inverted-U relationship," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 109(2), pages 99-101, November.
    11. Judd, Kenneth L, 1985. "On the Performance of Patents," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(3), pages 567-585, May.
    12. Akiyama, Taro & Furukawa, Yuichi, 2009. "Intellectual property rights and appropriability of innovation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 103(3), pages 138-141, June.
    13. Yi Qian, 2007. "Do National Patent Laws Stimulate Domestic Innovation in a Global Patenting Environment? A Cross-Country Analysis of Pharmaceutical Patent Protection, 1978-2002," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(3), pages 436-453, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Chu, Angus C. & Furukawa, Yuichi, 2012. "Patents versus R&D subsidies in a Schumpeterian growth model with endogenous market structure," MPRA Paper 41083, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Sep 2012.
    2. He, Qichun & Zou, Heng-fu, 2016. "Does inflation cause growth in the reform-era China? Theory and evidence," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 470-484.
    3. Iwaisako, Tatsuro, 2013. "Welfare effects of patent protection and productive public services: Why do developing countries prefer weaker patent protection?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 118(3), pages 478-481.
    4. Keiichi Kishi, 2014. "A patentability requirement and industries targeted by R&D," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 14-27-Rev., Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP), revised Oct 2014.
    5. Furukawa, Yuichi, 2013. "The struggle to survive in the R&D sector: Implications for innovation and growth," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 121(1), pages 26-29.

    More about this item


    Economic growth; Innovation; Intellectual property rights;

    JEL classification:

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


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