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An Experiment on Protecting Intellectual Property

  • Joy A. Buchanan

    ()

    (Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science, George Mason University)

  • Bart J. Wilson

    ()

    (Economic Science Institute, Chapman University)

We conduct a laboratory experiment to explore whether the protection of intellectual property (IP) incentivizes people to create non-rivalrous knowledge goods, foregoing the production of other rivalrous goods. In the contrasting treatment with no IP protection, participants are free to resell and remake non-rivalrous knowledge goods originally created by others. We find that creators reap substantial profits when IP is protected and that rampant pirating is not uncommon when there is no IP protection. But most importantly, we find that IP protection in and of itself is neither necessary nor sufficient for generating wealth from the discovery of knowledge goods.

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Paper provided by Chapman University, Economic Science Institute in its series Working Papers with number 12-09.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:chu:wpaper:12-09
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  1. Joshua S. Gans & David H. Hsu & Scott Stern, 2002. "When Does Start-Up Innovation Spur the Gale of Creative Destruction?," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 33(4), pages 571-586, Winter.
  2. Boldrin, Michele & Levine, David, 2002. "The Case Against Intellectual Property," CEPR Discussion Papers 3273, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Alberto Galasso & Mark Schankerman, 2013. "Patents and cumulative innovation: causal evidence from the courts," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 51539, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  4. Galasso, Alberto & Schankerman, Mark, 2013. "Patents and Cumulative Innovation:Causal Evidence from the Courts," IIR Working Paper 13-16, Institute of Innovation Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  5. James Bessen & Michael J. Meurer, 2008. "Do Patents Perform Like Property?," Working Papers 0801, Research on Innovation.
  6. Joel Mokyr, 2009. "Intellectual Property Rights, the Industrial Revolution, and the Beginnings of Modern Economic Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 349-55, May.
  7. Taylor Jaworski & Bart J. Wilson, 2013. "Go West Young Man: Self-Selection and Endogenous Property Rights," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 886-904, April.
  8. Richard Gilbert & Carl Shapiro, 1990. "Optimal Patent Length and Breadth," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(1), pages 106-112, Spring.
  9. Bart J. Wilson & Taylor Jaworski & Karl E. Schurter & Andrew Smyth, 2012. "The Ecological and Civil Mainsprings of Property: An Experimental Economic History of Whalers' Rules of Capture," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(4), pages 617-656, October.
  10. Kimbrough, Erik O. & Smith, Vernon L. & Wilson, Bart J., 2010. "Exchange, theft, and the social formation of property," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 74(3), pages 206-229, June.
  11. Sean Crockett & VernonL. Smith & BartJ. Wilson, 2009. "Exchange and Specialisation as a Discovery Process," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(539), pages 1162-1188, 07.
  12. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521879286 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Ederer, Florian & Manso, Gustavo, 2009. "Is Pay-For-Performance Detrimental to Innovation?," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt03t787q9, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  14. Galasso, Alberto & Schankerman, Mark, 2013. "Patents and Cumulative Innovation: Causal Evidence from the Courts," CEPR Discussion Papers 9458, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Josh Lerner, 2009. "The Empirical Impact of Intellectual Property Rights on Innovation: Puzzles and Clues," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 343-48, May.
  16. Petra Moser, 2005. "How Do Patent Laws Influence Innovation? Evidence from Nineteenth-Century World's Fairs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1214-1236, September.
  17. Alberto Galasso & Mark Schankerman, 2013. "Patents and Cumulative Innovation: Causal Evidence from the Courts," CEP Discussion Papers dp1205, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  18. Michele Boldrin & David K Levine, 2008. "Against Intellectual Monopoly," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000002371, UCLA Department of Economics.
  19. Palich, Leslie E. & Ray Bagby, D., 1995. "Using cognitive theory to explain entrepreneurial risk-taking: Challenging conventional wisdom," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 10(6), pages 425-438, November.
  20. Dan Lovallo & Colin Camerer, 1999. "Overconfidence and Excess Entry: An Experimental Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 306-318, March.
  21. Alberto Galasso & Mark Schankerman, 2014. "Patents and Cumulative Innovation: Causal Evidence from the Courts," NBER Working Papers 20269, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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