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Patents and R&D as Real Options

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  • Eduardo S. Schwartz

Abstract

This article develops and implements a simulation approach to value patents and patent-protected R&D projects based on the Real Options approach. It takes into account uncertainty in the cost-to-completion of the project, uncertainty in the cash flows to be generated from the project, and the possibility of catastrophic events that could put an end to the effort before it is completed. It also allows for the possibility of abandoning the project when costs turn out to be larger than expected or when estimated cash flows turn out to be smaller than anticipated. This abandonment option represents a very substantial part of the project's value when the project is marginal or/and when uncertainty is large. The model presented can be used to evaluate the effects of regulation on the cost of innovation and the amount on innovative output. The main focus of the article is the pharmaceutical industry. The framework, however, applies just as well to other research-intensive industries such as software or hardware development.

Suggested Citation

  • Eduardo S. Schwartz, 2003. "Patents and R&D as Real Options," NBER Working Papers 10114, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10114
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lanjouw, Jean O & Schankerman, Mark, 2001. "Characteristics of Patent Litigation: A Window on Competition," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(1), pages 129-151, Spring.
    2. Rebecca Henderson & Iain Cockburn, 1996. "Scale, Scope, and Spillovers: The Determinants of Research Productivity in Drug Discovery," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 27(1), pages 32-59, Spring.
    3. Schankerman, Mark & Scotchmer, Suzanne, 2001. "Damages and Injunctions in Protecting Intellectual Property," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(1), pages 199-220, Spring.
    4. Nancy Gallini & Suzanne Scotchmer, 2002. "Intellectual Property: When Is It the Best Incentive System?," NBER Chapters,in: Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 2, pages 51-78 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Pindyck, Robert S., 1993. "Investments of uncertain cost," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 53-76, August.
    6. Pakes, Ariel S, 1986. "Patents as Options: Some Estimates of the Value of Holding European Patent Stocks," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(4), pages 755-784, July.
    7. Henry Grabowski & John Vernon, 1990. "A New Look at the Returns and Risks to Pharmaceutical R&D," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 36(7), pages 804-821, July.
    8. James L. Paddock & Daniel R. Siegel & James L. Smith, 1988. "Option Valuation of Claims on Real Assets: The Case of Offshore Petroleum Leases," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 103(3), pages 479-508.
    9. Merton, Robert C, 1973. "An Intertemporal Capital Asset Pricing Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 41(5), pages 867-887, September.
    10. Schwartz, Eduardo S & Moon, Mark, 2001. "Rational Pricing of Internet Companies Revisited," The Financial Review, Eastern Finance Association, vol. 36(4), pages 7-25, November.
    11. Brennan, Michael J & Schwartz, Eduardo S, 1985. "Evaluating Natural Resource Investments," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 58(2), pages 135-157, April.
    12. Nicolas Bloom & John Van Reenen, 2000. "Patents, productivity and market value: evidence from a panel of UK firms," IFS Working Papers W00/21, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
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    Cited by:

    1. Edson Gonçalves, 2006. "Prospecção Para Biodiversidade: Uma Abordagem Via Opções Reais," Anais do XXXIV Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 34th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 112, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pós-Graduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
    2. Nick Bloom, 2007. "Uncertainty and the Dynamics of R&D," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 250-255, May.
    3. Li, Yong & James, Barclay & Madhavan, Ravi & Mahoney, Joseph T., 2006. "Real Options: Taking Stock and Looking Ahead," Working Papers 06-0114, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, College of Business.
    4. Adriana Breccia & Hector Salgado-Banda, 2005. "Competing or Colluding in a Stochastic Framework," Birkbeck Working Papers in Economics and Finance 0504, Birkbeck, Department of Economics, Mathematics & Statistics.
    5. Adriana Breccia & Hector Salgado-Banda, 2006. "Competing or Colluding in a Stochastic Environment," Computing in Economics and Finance 2006 423, Society for Computational Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G31 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Capital Budgeting; Fixed Investment and Inventory Studies
    • O22 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Project Analysis

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