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Inventors and pirates: creative activity and intellectual property rights

  • Grossman, Herschel I.

This paper analyzes how both the value of ideas created as well as the security of intellectual property rights result from the choices of potentially creative people either to engage in creative activity or to be pirates, and from decisions of people who are engaged in creative activity to allocate time and effort to the guarding of ideas from pirating. An important result is that, although the existence of a small number of geniuses causes a larger fraction of potentially creative people to choose to be pirates and, consequently, makes intellectual property rights less secure, the existence of a small number of geniuses, holding fixed the average level of talent, can result in a larger value of ideas being created. The paper also recognizes the difference between the private value and the social value of the security of intellectual property rights.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 21 (2005)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 269-285

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Handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:21:y:2005:i:2:p:269-285
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505544

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  1. 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.
  2. Hirshleifer, Jack, 1971. "The Private and Social Value of Information and the Reward to Inventive Activity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(4), pages 561-74, September.
  3. Biais, Bruno & Perotti, Enrico, 2008. "Entrepreneurs and New Ideas," IDEI Working Papers 347, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse, revised 0000.
  4. Herschel I. Grossman & Minseong Kim, 2003. "Educational Policy: Egalitarian or Elitist?," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(3), pages 225-246, November.
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  6. Herschel I. Grossman, 1999. "Producers and Predators," NBER Working Papers 6499, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Usher, D, 1987. "Theft as a Paradigm for Departures from Efficiency," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 39(2), pages 235-52, June.
  8. Gould, David M. & Gruben, William C., 1996. "The role of intellectual property rights in economic growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 323-350, March.
  9. de Meza, David & Gould, J R, 1992. "The Social Efficiency of Private Decisions to Enforce Property Rights," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 561-80, June.
  10. Petra Moser, 2003. "How Do Patent Laws Influence Innovation? Evidence from Nineteenth-Century World Fairs," NBER Working Papers 9909, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Nancy T. Gallini, 2002. "The Economics of Patents: Lessons from Recent U.S. Patent Reform," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(2), pages 131-154, Spring.
  12. Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, 2000. "The Firm as a Dedicated Hierarchy: A Theory of the Origin and Growth of Firms," NBER Working Papers 7546, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. B. Zorina Khan & Kenneth L. Sokoloff, 2001. "The Early Development of Intellectual Property Institutions in the United States," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(3), pages 233-246, Summer.
  14. Herschel I. Grossman & Minseong Kim, 2002. "Predation, Efficiency, and Inequality," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 158(3), pages 393-, September.
  15. Cozzi, Guido, 2001. " Inventing or Spying? Implications for Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 55-77, March.
  16. Walter G. Park & Juan Carlos Ginarte, 1997. "Intellectual Property Rights And Economic Growth," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 15(3), pages 51-61, 07.
  17. Richard C. Levin & Alvin K. Klevorick & Richard R. Nelson & Sidney G. Winter, 1987. "Appropriating the Returns from Industrial Research and Development," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 18(3), pages 783-832.
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