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Cross-Border Intellectual Property Rights: Contract Enforcement and Absorptive Capacity


  • Alireza Naghavi

    (Department of Economics, University of Bologna, Italy)

  • Yingyi Tsai

    (Department of Applied Economics, National University of Kaohsiung, Taiwan)


This paper studies cross-border intellectual property rights (IPR) as a North-South contract using a Nash bargaining approach and distinguishes between the outcome and its actual enforcement. The absorptive capacity of the Southern country to exploit technology transfer plays a key role in the negotiated level of IPRs and its post-treaty enforcement. The optimal level of IPR protection relates positively to absorptive capacity. This provides a rationale for the longer time-frame provided to least developed countries in Article 66 of TRIPS to implement its provisions. In addition, monitoring is only effective in preventing contract violation up to a critical level of absorptive capacity. We relate this to the US Trade Representative “Special 301” report, which flags countries that deny adequate IPR protection as “priority watch list”. While disputes with less developed economies are promptly resolved, emerging economies, where most losses from copyright piracy originates from, continue to remain on the list.

Suggested Citation

  • Alireza Naghavi & Yingyi Tsai, 2012. "Cross-Border Intellectual Property Rights: Contract Enforcement and Absorptive Capacity," Working Papers 2012.21, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  • Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2012.21

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Deardorff, Alan V, 1992. "Welfare Effects of Global Patent Protection," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 59(233), pages 35-51, February.
    2. Gene M. Grossman & Edwin L.-C. Lai, 2004. "International Protection of Intellectual Property," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1635-1653, December.
    3. Zigic, Kresimir, 2000. "Strategic trade policy, intellectual property rights protection, and North-South trade," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 27-60, February.
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    5. Alireza Naghavi, 2007. "Strategic Intellectual Property Rights Policy and North-South Technology Transfer," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 143(1), pages 55-78, April.
    6. Suzanne Scotchmer, 2004. "The Political Economy of Intellectual Property Treaties," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(2), pages 415-437, October.
    7. Vishwasrao, Sharmila, 1994. "Intellectual property rights and the mode of technology transfer," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 381-402, August.
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    12. Zigic, Kresimir, 1998. "Intellectual property rights violations and spillovers in North-South trade," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(9), pages 1779-1799, November.
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    14. Eric P. Chiang, 2004. "Determinants of Cross-Border Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement: The Role of Trade Sanctions," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 71(2), pages 424-440, October.
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    19. Dyuti Banerjee, 2011. "On the sufficiency of regulatory enforcement in combating piracy," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 40(2), pages 160-176, October.
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    More about this item


    Intellectual Property Rights; TRIPS; Nash Bargaining; Contract Enforcement; Development; Absorptive Capacity; Monitoring;

    JEL classification:

    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F53 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - International Agreements and Observance; International Organizations
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • L10 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - General
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • C70 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - General

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