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Effects of patent length on R&D: a quantitative DGE analysis


  • Angus Chu



This paper develops an R&D-growth model and calibrates the model to aggregate data of the US economy to quantify a structural relationship between patent length, R&D and consumption. Under parameter values that match the empirical flow-profit depreciation rate of patents and other key features of the US economy, extending the patent length beyond 20 years leads to a negligible increase in R&D despite equilibrium R&D underinvestment. In contrast, shortening the patent length leads to a significant reduction in R&D and consumption. Finally, this paper also analytically derives and quantifies a dynamic distortionary effect of patent length on capital investment.
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Suggested Citation

  • Angus Chu, 2010. "Effects of patent length on R&D: a quantitative DGE analysis," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 99(2), pages 117-140, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jeczfn:v:99:y:2010:i:2:p:117-140
    DOI: 10.1007/s00712-010-0110-y

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Adam B. Jaffe & Josh Lerner, 2006. "Innovation and its Discontents," NBER Chapters,in: Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 6, pages 27-66 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Diego Comin, 2004. "R&D: A Small Contribution to Productivity Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 9(4), pages 391-421, December.
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    5. Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Growth: With or Without Scale Effects?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 139-144, May.
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    7. Basu, Susanto & Fernald, John G, 1997. "Returns to Scale in U.S. Production: Estimates and Implications," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(2), pages 249-283, April.
    8. Charles I. Jones & John C. Williams, 1998. "Measuring the Social Return to R&D," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1119-1135.
    9. Bessen, James, 2008. "The value of U.S. patents by owner and patent characteristics," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(5), pages 932-945, June.
    10. Romer, Paul M, 1990. "Endogenous Technological Change," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 71-102, October.
    11. Jones, Charles I, 1995. "R&D-Based Models of Economic Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(4), pages 759-784, August.
    12. 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.
    13. 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.
    14. 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.
    15. Daron Acemoglu, 2007. "Introduction to Modern Economic Growth," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000001721, UCLA Department of Economics.
    16. Judd, Kenneth L, 1985. "On the Performance of Patents," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(3), pages 567-585, May.
    17. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Chu, Angus C. & Leung, Charles K.Y. & Tang, Edward, 2012. "Intellectual property rights, technical progress and the volatility of economic growth," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 749-756.
    2. Furukawa, Yuichi, 2010. "Intellectual property protection and innovation: an inverted-U relationship," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 109(2), pages 99-101, November.
    3. Lin, Hwan C., 2016. "The switch from patents to state-dependent prizes for technological innovation," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 193-223.
    4. 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.
    5. Angus C. Chu, 2009. "Macroeconomic Effects of Intellectual Property Rights: A Survey," IEAS Working Paper : academic research 09-A007, Institute of Economics, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan.
    6. Shiyuan Pan & Heng-fu Zou & Tailong Li, 2010. "Patent Protection, Technological Change and Wage Inequality," CEMA Working Papers 437, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
    7. Niwa, Sumiko, 2016. "Patent claims and economic growth," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 377-381.
    8. Neto, António & Furukawa, Yuichi & Ribeiro, Ana Paula, 2017. "Can Trade Unions Increase Social Welfare? An R&D Model with Cash-in-Advance Constraints," MPRA Paper 77312, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. repec:eee:eecrev:v:98:y:2017:i:c:p:392-409 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Chu, Angus C. & Cozzi, Guido & Furukawa, Yuichi & Liao, Chih-Hsing, 2017. "Inflation and economic growth in a Schumpeterian model with endogenous entry of heterogeneous firms," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 392-409.

    More about this item


    Innovation-driven growth; Intellectual property rights; Patent length; R&D; O31; O34;

    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


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