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IER Lawrence Klein Lecture: the case against intellectual monopoly

  • Michele Boldrin
  • David K. Levine

In the modern theory of growth, monopoly plays a crucial role both as a cause and an effect of innovation. Innovative firms, it is argued, would have insufficient incentive to innovate should the prospect of monopoly power not be present. This theme of monopoly runs throughout the theory of growth, international trade, and industrial organization. We argue that monopoly is neither needed for, nor a necessary consequence of, innovation. In particular, intellectual property is not necessary for, and may hurt more than help, innovation and growth. We argue that, as a practical matter, it is more likely to hurt.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its series Staff Report with number 339.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmsr:339
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  1. Paul Romer, 1989. "Endogenous Technological Change," NBER Working Papers 3210, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
  3. Grossman, G.M. & Helpman, E., 1989. "Quality Ledders In The Theory Of Growth," Papers 148, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Public and International Affairs.
  4. Gallini, Nancy & Scotchmer, Suzanne, 2001. "Intellectual Property: When Is It the Best Incentive System?," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt9wx2c2hz, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  5. Glenn Ellison & Edward L. Glaeser, 1999. "The Geographic Concentration of Industry: Does Natural Advantage Explain Agglomeration?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1862, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  6. Boldrin, Michele & Levine, David K., 2008. "Perfectly competitive innovation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 435-453, April.
  7. Adam B. Jaffe & Josh Lerner & Scott Stern, 2002. "Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 2," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number jaff02-1, December.
  8. Philippe Aghion & Peter Howitt, 1990. "A Model of Growth Through Creative Destruction," NBER Working Papers 3223, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Richard Gilbert & Carl Shapiro, 1990. "Optimal Patent Length and Breadth," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(1), pages 106-112, Spring.
  10. Ciccone, Antonio & Peri, Giovanni, 2002. "Identifying Human Capital Externalities: Theory with an Application to US Cities," CEPR Discussion Papers 3350, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Boldrin, Michele & Levine, David, 2002. "Factor Saving Innovation," CEPR Discussion Papers 3262, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. 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.
  13. Hart, Oliver D, 1979. "On Shareholder Unanimity in Large Stock Market Economies," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(5), pages 1057-83, September.
  14. Acemoglu, Daron & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 1996. "Was Prometheus Unbound by Chance? Risk, Diversification and Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 1426, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Krugman, Paul, 1980. "Scale Economies, Product Differentiation, and the Pattern of Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 950-59, December.
  16. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter, 1992. "A Model of Growth Through Creative Destruction," Scholarly Articles 12490578, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  17. Daron Acemoglu & Joshua Angrist, 1999. "How Large are the Social Returns to Education? Evidence from Compulsory Schooling Laws," Working papers 99-30, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
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