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Patent Protection, Technological Change and Wage Inequality

  • Shiyuan Pan

    (School of Economics and Center for Research of Private Economy, Zhejiang University)

  • Heng-fu Zou

    (Central University of Finance and Economics CEMA
    Wuhan University IAS
    Peking University
    China Development Bank)

  • Tailong Li

    (School of Economics & Management, Zhejiang Sci-Tech University)

We develop a directed-technological-change model to address the issue of the optimal patent system and investigate how the optimal patent system influences the direction of technological change and the inequality of wage, where patents are categorized as skill- and labor-complementary. The major results are: (i) Finite patent breadth maximizes the social welfare level; (ii) Optimal patent breadth increases with the amount of skilled (unskilled) workers; (iii) Optimal patent protection is skill-biased, because an increase in the amount of skilled workers increases the dynamic benefits of the protection for skill-complementary patents via the economy of scale of skill-complementary technology; (iv) Skill-biased patent protection skews inventions towards skills, thus increasing wage inequality; And, (v) international trade leads to strong protection for skill-complementary patents, hence increasing skill premia.

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Paper provided by China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics in its series CEMA Working Papers with number 437.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: 14 Aug 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cuf:wpaper:437
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://cema.cufe.edu.cn/

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  1. Daron Acemoglu, 2002. "Directed Technical Change," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(4), pages 781-809.
  2. Chu, Angus C., 2007. "Economic Growth and Patent Policy: Quantifying the Effects of Patent Length on R&D and Consumption," MPRA Paper 5476, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Scherer, F M, 1972. "Nordhaus' Theory of Optimal Patent Life: A Geometric Reinterpretation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(3), pages 422-27, June.
  4. Gene M Grossman & Edwin L Lai, 2004. "International Protection of Intellectual Property," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000000442, David K. Levine.
  5. Acemoglu, D., 1997. "Why Do New Technologies Complement Skills? Directed Technical Change and Wage Inequality," Working papers 97-14, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  6. Angus Chu, 2009. "Effects of blocking patents on R&D: a quantitative DGE analysis," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 55-78, March.
  7. Wood, Adrian, 1997. "Openness and Wage Inequality in Developing Countries: The Latin American Challenge to East Asian Conventional Wisdom," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 11(1), pages 33-57, January.
  8. Ryo Horii & Tatsuro Iwaisako, 2005. "Economic Growth with Imperfect Protection of Intellectual Property Rights," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 05-23, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP).
  9. Cozzi, Guido & Galli, Silvia, 2011. "Upstream innovation protection: common law evolution and the dynamics of wage inequality," MPRA Paper 31902, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  10. Ai-Ting Goh & Jacques Olivier, 2002. "Optimal Patent Protection in a Two-Sector Economy," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 43(4), pages 1191-1214, November.
  11. 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.
  12. Ishac Diwan & Dani Rodrik, 1989. "Patents, Appropriate Technology, and North-South Trade," NBER Working Papers 2974, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Daron Acemoglu, 2003. "Patterns of Skill Premia," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(2), pages 199-230.
  14. 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.
  15. Ann Harrison & Gordon Hanson, 1999. "Who Gains from Trade Reform? Some Remaining Puzzles," NBER Working Papers 6915, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. James Bessen & Robert M Hunt, 2004. "An Empirical Look at Software Patents," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000000167, David K. Levine.
  17. Richard Gilbert and Carl Shapiro., 1989. "Optimal Patent Length and Breadth," Economics Working Papers 89-102, University of California at Berkeley.
  18. Hall, Bronwyn H., 2003. "Business Method Patents, Innovation, and Policy," Competition Policy Center, Working Paper Series qt66w6p7qz, Competition Policy Center, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  19. 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.
  20. Adam B. Jaffe, 1999. "The U.S. Patent System in Transition: Policy Innovation and the Innovation Process," NBER Working Papers 7280, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Daron Acemoglu, 2002. "Technical Change, Inequality, and the Labor Market," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(1), pages 7-72, March.
  22. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter, 1992. "A Model of Growth Through Creative Destruction," Scholarly Articles 12490578, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  23. Adams, Samuel, 2008. "Globalization and income inequality: Implications for intellectual property rights," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 725-735.
  24. repec:hal:journl:hal-00460082 is not listed on IDEAS
  25. Orazio Attanasio & Pinelopi Goldberg & Nina Pavcnik, 2003. "Trade Reforms and Wage Inequiality in Colombia," NBER Working Papers 9830, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. Nancy T. Gallini, 1992. "Patent Policy and Costly Imitation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 23(1), pages 52-63, Spring.
  27. Sakakibara, Mariko & Branstetter, Lee, 2001. "Do Stronger Patents Induce More Innovation? Evidence from the 1988 Japanese Patent Law Reforms," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(1), pages 77-100, Spring.
  28. Klemperer, Paul, 1990. "How Broad Should the Scope of Patent Protection Be?," CEPR Discussion Papers 392, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  29. Josh Lerner, 2005. "150 Years of Patent Office Practice," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(1), pages 112-143.
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