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Counterfeiters: Foes or Friends? How Do Counterfeits Affect Different Product Quality Tiers?

  • Yi Qian
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    A key concern about counterfeits and weak intellectual property protection is that they may hamper innovation by displacing legitimate sales. This paper combines a natural policy experiment with randomized lab experiments to estimate the heterogeneous impacts of counterfeiting on the sales and consumer purchase intent related to branded products of various quality levels. I collect new product-line-level panel data (1993-2004) on Chinese shoe companies. I identify heterogeneous effects of counterfeit entry on sales of authentic products of three quality tiers, finding that counterfeits have both advertising effects for a brand and substitution effects for authentic products, additionally the effects linger for some years. The advertising effect dominates the substitution effect for high-end authentic-product sales, and the substitution effect outweighs the advertising effect for low-end product sales. The positive effect of counterfeits is most pronounced for high-fashion products (such as women's high-leg boots and dress shoes), for shoes tailored to young customers, and for high-end products of brands not yet well-known at the time of counterfeiter entry.

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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w16785.pdf
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    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16785.

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    Date of creation: Feb 2011
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    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16785
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    1. Mariko Sakakibara & Lee Branstetter, 1999. "Do Stronger Patents Induce More Innovation? Evidence from the 1988 Japanese Patent Law Reforms," NBER Working Papers 7066, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. McCalman, Phillip, 2001. "Reaping what you sow: an empirical analysis of international patent harmonization," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 161-186, October.
    3. Rafael Rob & Joel Waldfogel, 2004. "Piracy on the High C's: Music Downloading, Sales Displacement, and Social Welfare in a Sample of College Students," NBER Working Papers 10874, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Petra Moser, 2005. "How Do Patent Laws Influence Innovation? Evidence from Nineteenth-Century World's Fairs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1214-1236, September.
    5. Jean O. Lanjouw & Iain Cockburn, 2000. "Do Patents Matter?: Empirical Evidence after GATT," NBER Working Papers 7495, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Hui Kai-Lung & Png Ivan, 2003. "Piracy and the Legitimate Demand for Recorded Music," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 2(1), pages 1-24, September.
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