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Rent-seeking and innovation

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  • Boldrin, Michele
  • Levine, David K.

Abstract

Innovations and their adoption are the keys to growth and development. Innovations are less socially useful, but more profitable for the innovator, when they are adopted slowly and the innovator remains a monopolist. For this reason, rent-seeking, both public and private, plays an important role in determining the social usefulness of innovations. This paper examines the political economy of intellectual property, analyzing the trade-off between private and public rent-seeking. While it is true in principle that public rent-seeking may be a substitute for private rent-seeking, it is not true that this results always either in less private rent-seeking or in a welfare improvement. When the public sector itself is selfish and behaves rationally, we may experience the worst of public and private rent-seeking together.
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Suggested Citation

  • Boldrin, Michele & Levine, David K., 2004. "Rent-seeking and innovation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 127-160, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:moneco:v:51:y:2004:i:1:p:127-160
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    1. Masahiro Okuno-Fujiwara & Andrew Postlewaite & Kotaro Suzumura, 1990. "Strategic Information Revelation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(1), pages 25-47.
    2. Boldrin, Michele & Levine, David K., 2008. "Perfectly competitive innovation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 435-453, April.
    3. 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.
    4. Ponce, Carlos J., 2011. "Knowledge disclosure as intellectual property rights protection," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 80(3), pages 418-434.
    5. Suzanne Scotchmer, 2004. "The Political Economy of Intellectual Property Treaties," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(2), pages 415-437, October.
    6. Michele Boldrin & David Levine, 2002. "The Case Against Intellectual Property," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 209-212, May.
    7. Saijo, Tatsuyoshi & Yamato, Takehiko, 1999. "A Voluntary Participation Game with a Non-excludable Public Good," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 227-242, February.
    8. James Bessen & Eric Maskin, 2009. "Sequential innovation, patents, and imitation," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 40(4), pages 611-635.
    9. Sudipto Bhattacharya & Jay R. Ritter, 1983. "Innovation and Communication: Signalling with Partial Disclosure," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(2), pages 331-346.
    10. Horstmann, Ignatius & MacDonald, Glenn M & Slivinski, Alan, 1985. "Patents as Information Transfer Mechanisms: To Patent or (Maybe) Not to Patent," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(5), pages 837-858, October.
    11. 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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    Cited by:

    1. Giacomo A. M. Ponzetto, 2008. "Intellectual property rights and efficient firm organization," Economics Working Papers 1254, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised May 2014.
    2. Baccara, Mariagiovanna & Razin, Ronny, 2004. "Curb Your Innovation: Corporate Conservatism in the Presence of Imperfect Intellectual Property Rights," CEPR Discussion Papers 4466, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Bessen, James, 2005. "Patents and the diffusion of technical information," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 121-128, January.
    4. Michele Boldrin & David K Levine, 2005. "IP and Market Size," Levine's Working Paper Archive 618897000000000836, David K. Levine.
    5. Davis, Lewis S. & Şener, Fuat, 2012. "Private patent protection in the theory of Schumpeterian growth," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(7), pages 1446-1460.
    6. Michele Boldrin & David K. Levine, 2009. "Market Size And Intellectual Property Protection," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 50(3), pages 855-881, August.
    7. Muñoz, Félix & Encinar, María Isabel & Otamendi, Francisco Javier, 2013. "The allocation of entrepreneurial effort and its implications on economic growth," Working Papers in Economic Theory 2013/06, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain), Department of Economic Analysis (Economic Theory and Economic History).
    8. Danny García, 2007. "Innovation and Growth: A Survey of the Literature and a Case Study for Latin America," REVISTA ECOS DE ECONOMÍA, UNIVERSIDAD EAFIT, October.
    9. Chong-Kee Yip & Tsz-Nga Wong, 2014. "A Model of Technology Assimilation," 2014 Meeting Papers 144, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    10. Michele Boldrin & David K Levine, 2004. "The Economics of Ideas and Intellectual Property," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000000631, David K. Levine.
    11. Michele Boldrin & David K Levine, 2008. "Quality Ladders, Competition and Endogenous Growth," 2008 Meeting Papers 277, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    12. Serguey Braguinsky & Salavat Gabdrakhmanov & Atsushi Ohyama, 2007. "A Theory of Competitive Industry Dynamics With Innovation and Imitation," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 10(4), pages 729-760, October.
    13. Sinclair Davidson & Jason Potts, 2016. "The Social Costs of Innovation Policy," Economic Affairs, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(3), pages 282-293, October.
    14. Chen, Hong & Feng, Qun & Cao, Jing, 2014. "Rent-seeking mechanism for safety supervision in the Chinese coal industry based on a tripartite game model," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 140-145.
    15. Michele Boldrin & David K Levine, 2005. "Intellectual Property and the Efficient Allocation of Surplus from Creation," Levine's Working Paper Archive 618897000000000925, David K. Levine.
    16. Ronny Razin & Mariagiovanna Baccara, 2008. "Bargaining Over New Ideas: Rent Distribution and Stability of Innovative Firms," Working Papers 08-6, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
    17. Michele Boldrin & David K. Levine, 2006. "Growth and Intellectual Property," NBER Working Papers 12769, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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