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Pests, Plagues, and Patents


  • Timo Goeschl

    (University of Cambridge,)

  • Timothy Swanson

    (University College London,)


The paper investigates the interaction between dynamic forms of incentive mechanisms (patent systems) and dynamic forms of problems (adaptations of pests and pathogens). Since biological problems recur, the design of the incentive mechanism must take into consideration: a) the need for investments into R&D that take into account the impermanence of the solution concepts; and b) the impact of this impermanence on the anticipated lifespan of any patent awarded for an innovation. The results indicate that patent systems must be carefully tailored to the nature of the problem under consideration. (JEL: C7, H0, H3, Q38) Copyright (c) 2003 The European Economic Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Timo Goeschl & Timothy Swanson, 2003. "Pests, Plagues, and Patents," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(2-3), pages 561-575, 04/05.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:jeurec:v:1:y:2003:i:2-3:p:561-575

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Per Krusell & José-Víctor Ríos-Rull, 1996. "Vested Interests in a Positive Theory of Stagnation and Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(2), pages 301-329.
    2. Gilles Saint-Paul, 2001. "The Dynamics of Exclusion and Fiscal Conservatism," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 4(2), pages 275-302, April.
    3. Roland Benabou, 2000. "Unequal Societies: Income Distribution and the Social Contract," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 96-129, March.
    4. Oded Galor & Joseph Zeira, 1993. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(1), pages 35-52.
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    Cited by:

    1. Rupert Gatti & Timo Goeschl & Ben Groom & Timothy Swanson, 2011. "The Biodiversity Bargaining Problem," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 48(4), pages 609-628, April.
    2. Derek Eaton, 2013. "Innovation and IPRs in the Agricultural Seed Sector," CIES Research Paper series 19-2013, Centre for International Environmental Studies, The Graduate Institute.
    3. repec:eee:ecolec:v:144:y:2018:i:c:p:260-277 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Lanz, Bruno & Dietz, Simon & Swanson, Tim, 2018. "The Expansion of Modern Agriculture and Global Biodiversity Decline: An Integrated Assessment," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 144(C), pages 260-277.
    5. Eugenio Figueroa B. & Roberto Pasten C., 2012. "The insurance value of forests in supplying climate regulation," Working Papers wp372, University of Chile, Department of Economics.
    6. Roberto ESPOSTI, 2003. "Complementarita' innovative e tragedia degli anticommons. Il caso delle agrobiotecnologie," Working Papers 198, Universita' Politecnica delle Marche (I), Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Sociali.
    7. Bialek, Sylwia, 2016. "Introducing Cattle Producer to the Hardin s World- Can Monopolies in Seed Markets Be Welfare Enhancing?," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145786, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    8. Baumgartner, Stefan & Becker, Christian & Faber, Malte & Manstetten, Reiner, 2006. "Relative and absolute scarcity of nature. Assessing the roles of economics and ecology for biodiversity conservation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(4), pages 487-498, October.
    9. Timothy Swanson & Ben Groom, 2012. "Regulating Biodiversity: What is the Problem?," CIES Research Paper series 08-2012, Centre for International Environmental Studies, The Graduate Institute.
    10. Béné, C. & Doyen, L., 2008. "Contribution values of biodiversity to ecosystem performances: A viability perspective," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1-2), pages 14-23, December.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C7 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory
    • H0 - Public Economics - - General
    • H3 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents
    • Q38 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Government Policy (includes OPEC Policy)


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