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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. Acemoglu, Daron & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 1996. "Was Prometheus Unbound by Chance? Risk, Diversification and Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 1426, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Michele Boldrin & David K Levine, 2000. "Perfectly Competitive Innovation," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1996, David K. Levine.
  3. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter, 1992. "A Model of Growth Through Creative Destruction," Scholarly Articles 12490578, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. Michele Boldrin & David K Levine, 2001. "Factor Saving Innovation," Levine's Working Paper Archive 625018000000000088, David K. Levine.
  5. Edward L. Glaeser & Glenn Ellison, 1999. "The Geographic Concentration of Industry: Does Natural Advantage Explain Agglomeration?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 311-316, May.
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  9. 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.
  10. 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.
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  12. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter, 1992. "A Model of Growth through Creative Destruction," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(2), pages 323-51, March.
  13. Nancy Gallini & Suzanne Scotchmer, 2003. "Intellectual Property: When is it the Best Incentive System?," Levine's Working Paper Archive 618897000000000532, David K. Levine.
  14. Richard Gilbert & Carl Shapiro, 1990. "Optimal Patent Length and Breadth," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(1), pages 106-112, Spring.
  15. 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, September.
  16. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
  17. Hart, Oliver D, 1979. "On Shareholder Unanimity in Large Stock Market Economies," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(5), pages 1057-83, September.
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