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Incentivizing Innovation: Adding to the Tool Kit

In: Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 10

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  • Michael Kremer
  • Heidi Williams

Abstract

Intellectual property rights (IPR) create incentives for research but impose static efficiency losses and other costs. In this essay, we discuss recent proposals of other mechanisms for rewarding innovation and argue that incremental experimentation with mechanisms that supplement rather than replace IPR can help to test and refine these mechanisms without undermining existing institutions. Prizes, such as those recently offered by the X-Prize Foundation, have been successful in spurring research but have typically targeted demonstration projects rather than innovations capable of being used at scale. To spur the creation of products for widespread use, the design of prizes could be usefully extended by conditioning rewards on a market test, as in the recent $1.5 billion pilot Advance Market Commitment (AMC) for a pneumococcus vaccine.
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Suggested Citation

  • Michael Kremer & Heidi Williams, 2010. "Incentivizing Innovation: Adding to the Tool Kit," NBER Chapters,in: Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 10, pages 1-17 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:11763
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    1. Kremer, Michael R., 1998. "Patent Buyouts: A Mechanism for Encouraging Innovation," Scholarly Articles 3693705, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    2. Chari, V.V. & Golosov, Mikhail & Tsyvinski, Aleh, 2012. "Prizes and patents: Using market signals to provide incentives for innovations," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(2), pages 781-801.
    3. James Bessen & Eric Maskin, 2009. "Sequential innovation, patents, and imitation," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 40(4), pages 611-635.
    4. Daron Acemoglu & Joshua Linn, 2004. "Market Size in Innovation: Theory and Evidence from the Pharmaceutical Industry," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(3), pages 1049-1090.
    5. Fiona E. Murray & Scott Stern, 2007. "Do Formal Intellectual Property Rights Hinder the Free Flow of Scientific Knowledge?: An Empirical Test of the Anti-Commons Hypothesis," NBER Chapters,in: Academic Science and Entrepreneurship: Dual Engines of Growth National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Michael Kremer, 1998. "Patent Buyouts: A Mechanism for Encouraging Innovation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1137-1167.
    7. Amy Finkelstein, 2004. "Static and Dynamic Effects of Health Policy: Evidence from the Vaccine Industry," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(2), pages 527-564.
    8. 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. Mark Duggan & Craig Garthwaite & Aparajita Goyal, 2016. "The Market Impacts of Pharmaceutical Product Patents in Developing Countries: Evidence from India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(1), pages 99-135, January.
    2. repec:eee:exehis:v:64:y:2017:i:c:p:21-36 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Linda Cohen & Amihai Glazer, 2014. "Forward Markets to Spur Innovation," Working Papers 131405, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
    4. Brueggemann, Julia & Meub, Lukas, 2015. "Experimental evidence on the effects of innovation contests," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 251, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    5. Brunt, Liam & Lerner, Josh & Nicholas, Tom, 2011. "Inducement Prizes and Innovation," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 25/2011, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics.
    6. Michele Boldrin & David K. Levine, 2013. "The Case against Patents," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 27(1), pages 3-22, Winter.
    7. Murray, Fiona & Stern, Scott & Campbell, Georgina & MacCormack, Alan, 2012. "Grand Innovation Prizes: A theoretical, normative, and empirical evaluation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(10), pages 1779-1792.
    8. Karen Johson & Akil Amiraly, 2017. "Bringing entrepreneurial methods into the scientific classroom
      [L'introduction d'une approche entrepreneuriale dans un cours de sciences fondamentales]
      ," Post-Print hal-01574725, HAL.
    9. B. Zorina Khan, 2014. "Of Time and Space: Technological Spillovers among Patents and Unpatented Innovations during Early U.S. Industrialization," NBER Working Papers 20732, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Mueller-Langer, Frank, 2011. "Neglected infectious diseases: are push and pull incentive mechanisms suitable for promoting research?," MPRA Paper 40193, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Mueller-Langer, Frank, 2013. "Neglected infectious diseases: Are push and pull incentive mechanisms suitable for promoting drug development research?," Health Economics, Policy and Law, Cambridge University Press, vol. 8(02), pages 185-208, April.

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