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Entrepreneurs and New Ideas

  • Biais, Bruno
  • Perotti, Enrico

Innovative ideas are novel combinations of productive resources potentially addressing an economic need (Schumpeter, 1926). Even promising ideas can be unprofitable if the proposed combination fails on at least one dimension, e.g., it is technically unfeasible or does not respond to a genuine customer need. To screen good ideas the entrepreneur needs to hire experts who evaluate the idea along their dimensions of expertise. Yet sharing the idea creates the risk that an expert would steal it. In this case, the idea-thief cannot contact any other expert, lest he should in turn steal the idea. Thus idea stealing leads to incomplete screening and is unattractive if the information of the other expert is critical or highly complementary. In such cases the entrepreneur can form a partnership with the experts. Yet very valuable ideas cannot be shared because it is too tempting to steal them.

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Paper provided by Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse in its series IDEI Working Papers with number 347.

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Date of creation: Jun 2008
Date of revision: 0000
Publication status: Published in The RAND Journal of Economics, vol.�39, n°4, Winter 2008, p.�1105-1125.
Handle: RePEc:ide:wpaper:4373
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  1. James J. Anton & Dennis A. Yao, 2002. "The Sale of Ideas: Strategic Disclosure, Property Rights, and Contracting," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(3), pages 513-531.
  2. Stanley M. Besen & Leo J. Raskind, 1991. "An Introduction to the Law and Economics of Intellectual Property," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 3-27, Winter.
  3. Maskin, Eric & Tirole, Jean, 1992. "The Principal-Agent Relationship with an Informed Principal, II: Common Values," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(1), pages 1-42, January.
  4. Giacinta Cestone & Lucy White, 2003. "Anticompetitive Financial Contracting: The Design of Financial Claims," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 58(5), pages 2109-2142, October.
  5. James J. Anton & Dennis A. Yao, 2004. "Little Patents and Big Secrets: Managing Intellectual Property," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 35(1), pages 1-22, Spring.
  6. Aghion, Philippe & Tirole, Jean, 1994. "The Management of Innovation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(4), pages 1185-1209, November.
  7. Maskin, Eric & Tirole, Jean, 1990. "The Principal-Agent Relationship with an Informed Principal: The Case of Private Values," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(2), pages 379-409, March.
  8. Kremer, Michael, 1993. "The O-Ring Theory of Economic Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(3), pages 551-75, August.
  9. Anton, James J & Yao, Dennis A, 2002. "The Sale of Ideas: Strategic Disclosure, Property Rights, and Contracting," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(3), pages 513-31, July.
  10. Lazear, Edward, 2003. "Entrepreneurship," IZA Discussion Papers 760, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Aghion, Philippe & Tirole, Jean, 1994. "On the Management of Innovation," IDEI Working Papers 36, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  12. Kenneth Arrow, 1962. "Economic Welfare and the Allocation of Resources for Invention," NBER Chapters, in: The Rate and Direction of Inventive Activity: Economic and Social Factors, pages 609-626 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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