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Intellectual Property: When Is It the Best Incentive System?

  • Gallini, Nancy
  • Scotchmer, Suzanne

Our objective in this paper is to review what economists have said about incentive schemes to promote R&D, including intellectual property. While we focus on environments in which other forms of protection are not available, we note that other protections can obviate the need for any formal reward system. In Section II, we compare intellectual property to alternative incentive schemes. In Section III we review optimal design issues for intellectual property, especially the question of patent breadth, and in Section IV we turn to the special problems that arise when innovation is cumulative. In Section V, we summarize the arguments for and against intellectual property. We comment on whether the design recommendations of economists can actually be implemented, and argue that IP regimes should be designed so that the subject matter of each one has relatively homogeneous needs for protection.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley in its series Department of Economics, Working Paper Series with number qt9wx2c2hz.

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Date of creation: 01 Aug 2001
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Handle: RePEc:cdl:econwp:qt9wx2c2hz
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  1. Suzanne Scotchmer, 2000. "Delegating Investment in a Common-Value Project," Industrial Organization 9912001, EconWPA.
  2. Klemperer, Paul, 1990. "How Broad Should the Scope of Patent Protection Be?," CEPR Discussion Papers 392, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  6. Michael Kremer, 2001. "Creating Markets for New Vaccines - Part I: Rationale," NBER Chapters, in: Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 1, pages 35-72 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  8. Green, J.R. & Scotchmer, S., 1993. "On the Division of Profit in Sequential Innovation," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1638, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  9. Mark Schankerman, 1998. "How Valuable is Patent Protection? Estimates by Technology Field," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 29(1), pages 77-107, Spring.
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  11. Shavell, S. & van Ypersele de Strihou, T.P.M.C., 1999. "Rewards versus intellectual property rights," Discussion Paper 1999-26, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  12. Gallini, Nancy T, 1984. "Deterrence by Market Sharing: A Strategic Incentive for Licensing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(5), pages 931-41, December.
  13. Michael Kremer, 1998. "Patent Buyouts: A Mechanism For Encouraging Innovation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1137-1167, November.
  14. d'Aspremont, Claude & Bhattacharya, Sudipto & Gerard-Varet, Louis-Andre, 1998. "Knowledge as a public good: efficient sharing and incentives for development effort," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 389-404, November.
  15. Shapiro, Carl, 2000. "Navigating the Patent Thicket: Cross Licenses, Patent Pools, and Standard-Setting," Competition Policy Center, Working Paper Series qt4hs5s9wk, Competition Policy Center, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  16. Scotchmer, suzanne, 1998. "The Independent-Invention Defense in Intellectual Property," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt2s5174q8, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
  17. Nancy T. Gallini & Ralph A. Winter, 1985. "Licensing in the Theory of Innovation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 16(2), pages 237-252, Summer.
  18. Ted O'Donoghue & Suzanne Scotchmer & Jacques-François Thisse, 1998. "Patent Breadth, Patent Life, and the Pace of Technological Progress," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(1), pages 1-32, 03.
  19. Wesley M Cohen & Richard R Nelson & John P Walsh, 2003. "Protecting Their Intellectual Assets: Appropriability Conditions and Why U.S. Manufacturing Firms Patent (Or Not)," Levine's Working Paper Archive 618897000000000624, David K. Levine.
  20. Deborah Minehart & Suzanne Scotchmer, 1995. "Ex Post Regret and the Decentralized Sharing of Information," Papers 0058, Boston University - Industry Studies Programme.
  21. Francesca Cornelli & Mark Schankerman, 1999. "Patent Renewals and R&D Incentives," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 30(2), pages 197-213, Summer.
  22. Lerner, Josh, 1995. "Patenting in the Shadow of Competitors," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(2), pages 463-95, October.
  23. Suzanne Scotchmer & Jerry Green, 1990. "Novelty and Disclosure in Patent Law," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(1), pages 131-146, Spring.
  24. Wright, Brian Davern, 1983. "The Economics of Invention Incentives: Patents, Prizes, and Research Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(4), pages 691-707, September.
  25. Nancy T. Gallini & Brian D. Wright, 1990. "Technology Transfer under Asymmetric Information," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(1), pages 147-160, Spring.
  26. Mukesh Eswaran & Nancy Gallini, 1996. "Patent Policy and the Direction of Technological Change," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 27(4), pages 722-746, Winter.
  27. Michael Kremer, 1997. "Patent Buy-Outs: A Mechanism for Encouraging Innovation," NBER Working Papers 6304, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  29. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Tirole, Jean, 1987. "Auctioning Incentive Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(5), pages 921-37, October.
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  33. Denicolo, Vincenzo, 1996. "Patent Races and Optimal Patent Breadth and Length," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(3), pages 249-65, September.
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