Do Formal Intellectual Property Rights Hinder the Free Flow of Scientific Knowledge? An Empirical Test of the Anti-Commons Hypothesis
While the potential for intellectual property rights to inhibit the diffusion of scientific knowledge is at the heart of several contemporary policy debates, evidence for the %u201Canti-commons effect%u201D has been anecdotal. A central issue in this debate is how intellectual property rights over a given piece of knowledge affects the propensity of future researchers to build upon that knowledge in their own scientific research activities. This article frames this debate around the concept of dual knowledge, in which a single discovery may contribute to both scientific research and useful commercial applications. A key implication of dual knowledge is that it may be simultaneously instantiated as a scientific research article and as a patent. Such patent-paper pairs are at the heart of our empirical strategy. We exploit the fact that patents are granted with a substantial lag, often many years after the knowledge is initially disclosed through paper publication. The knowledge associated with a patent paper pair therefore diffuses within two distinct intellectual property environments %u2013 one associated with the pre-grant period and another after formal IP rights are granted. Relative to the expected citation pattern for publications with a given quality level, anticommons theory predicts that the citation rate to a scientific publication should fall after formal IP rights associated with that publication are granted. Employing a differences-indifferences estimator for 169 patent-paper pairs (and including a control group of publications from the same journal for which no patent is granted), we find evidence for a modest anti-commons effect (the citation rate after the patent grant declines by between 9 and 17%). This decline becomes more pronounced with the number of years elapsed since the date of the patent grant, and is particularly salient for articles authored by researchers with public sector affiliations.
|Date of creation:||Jul 2005|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as Murray, Fiona and Scott Stern. "Do formal intellectual property rights hinder the free flow of scientific knowledge?: An empirical test of the anti-commons hypothesis" Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization 63, 4 (2007): 648-687.|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Zucker, Lynne G & Darby, Michael R & Brewer, Marilynn B, 1998. "Intellectual Human Capital and the Birth of U.S. Biotechnology Enterprises," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 290-306, March.
- Ashish Arora, 1995. "Licensing Tacit Knowledge: Intellectual Property Rights And The Market For Know-How," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 4(1), pages 41-60.
- Paul Romer, 1989.
"Endogenous Technological Change,"
NBER Working Papers
3210, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Cockburn, Iain M & Henderson, Rebecca M, 1998. "Absorptive Capacity, Coauthoring Behavior, and the Organization of Research in Drug Discovery," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(2), pages 157-82, June.
- Carl Shapiro, 2001.
"Navigating the Patent Thicket: Cross Licenses, Patent Pools, and Standard Setting,"
in: Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 1, pages 119-150
National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Carl Shapiro, 2004. "Navigating the Patent Thicket: Cross Licenses, Patent Pools and Standard Setting," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000000539, David K. Levine.
- Carl Shapiro, 2003. "Navigating the Patent Thicket: Cross Licenses, Patent Pools, and Standard-Setting," Law and Economics 0303005, EconWPA.
- Shapiro, Carl, 2000. "Navigating the Patent Thicket: Cross Licenses, Patent Pools, and Standard-Setting," Competition Policy Center, Working Paper Series qt4hs5s9wk, Competition Policy Center, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
- Merges, Robert P. & Nelson, Richard R., 1994. "On limiting or encouraging rivalry in technical progress: The effect of patent scope decisions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 1-24, September.
- 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.
- Hausman, Jerry & Hall, Bronwyn H & Griliches, Zvi, 1984.
"Econometric Models for Count Data with an Application to the Patents-R&D Relationship,"
Econometric Society, vol. 52(4), pages 909-38, July.
- Jerry A. Hausman & Bronwyn H. Hall & Zvi Griliches, 1984. "Econometric Models for Count Data with an Application to the Patents-R&D Relationship," NBER Technical Working Papers 0017, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Joshua S. Cans & Scott Stern, 2000. "Incumbency and R&D Incentives: Licensing the Gale of Creative Destruction," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(4), pages 485-511, December.
- Richard R. Nelson, 1959. "The Simple Economics of Basic Scientific Research," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 67, pages 297.
- Adams, James D, 1990. "Fundamental Stocks of Knowledge and Productivity Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(4), pages 673-702, August.
- Michael Kremer, 1997. "Patent Buy-Outs: A Mechanism for Encouraging Innovation," NBER Working Papers 6304, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Scott Stern, 1999. "Do Scientists Pay to Be Scientists?," NBER Working Papers 7410, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Weitzman, Martin L., 1974. "Free access vs private ownership as alternative systems for managing common property," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 225-234, June.
- Etzkowitz, Henry, 1998. "The norms of entrepreneurial science: cognitive effects of the new university-industry linkages," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(8), pages 823-833, December.
- Argyres, Nicholas S. & Liebeskind, Julia Porter, 1998. "Privatizing the intellectual commons: Universities and the commercialization of biotechnology," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 427-454, May.
- repec:cup:cbooks:9780521451185 is not listed on IDEAS
- Paul David, 2001. "From Keeping Natures Secrets to the Institutionalization of Open Science," Economics Series Working Papers 2001-W23, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
- Marie Thursby & Richard Jensen, 2001. "Proofs and Prototypes for Sale: The Licensing of University Inventions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 240-259, March.
- Narin, Francis & Olivastro, Dominic, 1992. "Status report: Linkage between technology and science," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 237-249, June.
- Ajay Agrawal & Rebecca Henderson, 2002. "Putting Patents in Context: Exploring Knowledge Transfer from MIT," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 48(1), pages 44-60, January.
- Ashish Arora & Andrea Fosfuri & Alfonso Gambardella, 2004. "Markets for Technology: The Economics of Innovation and Corporate Strategy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262511819, June.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11465. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.