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Prizes and patents: using market signals to provide incentives for innovations

Listed author(s):
  • V. V. Chari
  • Mikhail Golosov
  • Aleh Tsyvinski

Innovative activities have public good characteristics in the sense that the cost of producing the innovation is high compared to the cost of producing subsequent units. Moreover, knowledge of how to produce subsequent units is widely known once the innovation has occurred and is, therefore, non-rivalrous. The main question of this paper is whether mechanisms can be found which exploit market information to provide appropriate incentives for innovation. The ability of the mechanism designer to exploit such information depends crucially on the ability of the innovator to manipulate market signals. We show that if the innovator cannot manipulate market signals, then the efficient levels of innovation can be implemented without deadweight losses - for example, by using appropriately designed prizes. If the innovator can use bribes, buybacks, or other ways of manipulating market signals, patents are necessary.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its series Working Papers with number 673.

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Date of creation: 2009
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmwp:673
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  1. Horowitz, Andrew W & Lai, Edwin L-C, 1996. "Patent Length and the Rate of Innovation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 37(4), pages 785-801, November.
  2. Aghion, P. & Howitt, P., 1989. "A Model Of Growth Through Creative Destruction," Working papers 527, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  3. Cremer, Jacques & McLean, Richard P, 1988. "Full Extraction of the Surplus in Bayesian and Dominant Strategy Auctions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(6), pages 1247-1257, November.
  4. Lacker, Jeffrey M & Weinberg, John A, 1989. "Optimal Contracts under Costly State Falsification," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1345-1363, December.
  5. Harris, Christopher & Howitt, Peter & Vickers, John & Aghion, Philippe, 2001. "Competition, Imitation and Growth with Step-by-Step Innovation," Scholarly Articles 12375013, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  6. Wright, Brian Davern, 1983. "The Economics of Invention Incentives: Patents, Prizes, and Research Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(4), pages 691-707, September.
  7. McAfee, R Preston & Reny, Philip J, 1992. "Correlated Information and Mechanism Design," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(2), pages 395-421, March.
  8. Gerard Llobet & Hugo A. Hopenhayn & Matthew F. Mitchell, 2000. "Rewarding sequential innovators: prizes, patents and buyouts," Staff Report 273, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  9. Paul M Romer, 1999. "Endogenous Technological Change," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2135, David K. Levine.
  10. Boldrin,Michele & Levine,David K., 2010. "Against Intellectual Monopoly," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521127264, May.
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  12. Steven Shavell & Tanguy van Ypersele, 1999. "Rewards versus Intellectual Property Rights," NBER Working Papers 6956, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Aghion, Philippe & Harris, Christopher & Vickers, John, 1997. "Competition and growth with step-by-step innovation: An example," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(3-5), pages 771-782, April.
  14. Michael Kremer, 1998. "Patent Buyouts: A Mechanism for Encouraging Innovation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1137-1167.
  15. Kremer, Michael R., 1998. "Patent Buyouts: A Mechanism for Encouraging Innovation," Scholarly Articles 3693705, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  16. Giovanni Maggi & Andres Rodriguez-Clare, 1995. "Costly Distortion of Information in Agency Problems," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(4), pages 675-689, Winter.
  17. Moore, John & Repullo, Rafael, 1988. "Subgame Perfect Implementation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(5), pages 1191-1220, September.
  18. 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.
  19. McAfee, R Preston & McMillan, John & Reny, Philip J, 1989. "Extracting the Surplus in the Common-Value Auction," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(6), pages 1451-1459, November.
  20. Judd, Kenneth L, 1985. "On the Performance of Patents," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(3), pages 567-585, May.
  21. O'Donoghue, Ted & Zweimüller, Josef, 1998. "Patents in a Model of Endogenous Growth," Economics Series 56, Institute for Advanced Studies.
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