IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/14940.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Scarcity of Ideas and R&D Options: Use it, Lose it or Bank it

Author

Listed:
  • Nisvan Erkal
  • Suzanne Scotchmer

Abstract

We investigate rewards to R&D in a model where substitute ideas for innovation arrive to random recipients at random times. By foregoing investment in a current idea, society as a whole preserves an option to invest in a better idea for the same market niche, but with delay. Because successive ideas may occur to different people, there is a conflict between private and social optimality. We characterize the welfare-maximizing reward structure when the social planner learns over time about the arrival rate of ideas, and when private recipients of ideas can bank their ideas for future use. We argue that private incentives to create socially valuable options can be achieved by giving higher rewards where "ideas are scarce."

Suggested Citation

  • Nisvan Erkal & Suzanne Scotchmer, 2009. "Scarcity of Ideas and R&D Options: Use it, Lose it or Bank it," NBER Working Papers 14940, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14940 Note: IO LE
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w14940.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. David A. Malueg & Shunichi O. Tsutsui, 1997. "Dynamic R&D Competition with Learning," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 28(4), pages 751-772, Winter.
    2. Erkal, Nisvan, 2005. "The decision to patent, cumulative innovation, and optimal policy," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 23(7-8), pages 535-562, September.
    3. Helen Weeds, 2002. "Strategic Delay in a Real Options Model of R&D Competition," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(3), pages 729-747.
    4. Hugo Hopenhayn & Gerard Llobet & Matthew Mitchell, 2006. "Rewarding Sequential Innovators: Prizes, Patents, and Buyouts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(6), pages 1041-1068, December.
    5. Ted O'Donoghue & Suzanne Scotchmer & Jacques-François Thisse, 1998. "Patent Breadth, Patent Life, and the Pace of Technological Progress," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(1), pages 1-32, March.
    6. Erkal, Nisvan & Scotchmer, Suzanne, 2007. "Scarcity of Ideas and Options to Invest in R&D," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt2hq9s5kg, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
    7. Jay P. Choi, 1991. "Dynamic R&D Competition under "Hazard Rate" Uncertainty," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(4), pages 596-610, Winter.
    8. Robert McDonald & Daniel Siegel, 1986. "The Value of Waiting to Invest," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 101(4), pages 707-727.
    9. Matthew Mitchell, 2000. "Rewarding Sequential Innovators: Patents Prizes and Buyouts," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1650, Econometric Society.
    10. 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.
    11. Reinganum, Jennifer F., 1989. "The timing of innovation: Research, development, and diffusion," Handbook of Industrial Organization,in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 14, pages 849-908 Elsevier.
    12. Vincenzo Denicolo & Luigi Alberto Franzoni, 2004. "Patents, Secrets, and the First-Inventor Defense," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(3), pages 517-538, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Suzanne Scotchmer, 2013. "Patents in the University: Priming the Pump and Crowding Out," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 817-844, September.
    2. Zhang, Tianle, 2012. "Patenting in the shadow of independent discoveries by rivals," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 41-49.
    3. Bergner, Sören Martin & Bräutigam, Rainer & Evers, Maria Theresia & Spengel, Christoph, 2017. "The use of SME tax incentives in the European Union," ZEW Discussion Papers 17-006, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    4. Christian Riis & Xianwen Shi, 2012. "Sequential Innovation and Optimal Patent Design," Working Papers tecipa-447, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
    5. repec:eee:eecrev:v:95:y:2017:i:c:p:38-61 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Joshua S. Gans, 2014. "Negotiating for the Market," NBER Working Papers 20559, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Suzanne Scotchmer, 2011. "Comment on "Funding Scientific Knowledge: Selection, Disclosure and the Public-Private Portfolio"," NBER Chapters,in: The Rate and Direction of Inventive Activity Revisited, pages 103-105 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • K00 - Law and Economics - - General - - - General (including Data Sources and Description)
    • L00 - Industrial Organization - - General - - - General
    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14940. 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: (). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.