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How Do Patents Affect Research Investments?

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  • Heidi L. Williams

Abstract

While patent systems have been widely used both historically and internationally, there is nonetheless a tremendous amount of controversy over whether patent systems – in practice – improve the alignment between private returns and social contributions. In this paper, I describe three parameters – how the disclosure function affects research investments, how patent strength affects research investments in new technologies, and how patents on existing technologies affect follow-on innovation – needed to inform the question of how patents affect research investments, and review the available evidence which has attempted to empirically estimate these parameters.

Suggested Citation

  • Heidi L. Williams, 2017. "How Do Patents Affect Research Investments?," NBER Working Papers 23088, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23088
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Patrick Gaule, 2015. "Patents and the Success of Venture-Capital Backed Startups: Using Examiner Assignment to Estimate Causal Effects," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp546, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
    2. Hall, B. & Jaffe, A. & Trajtenberg, M., 2001. "The NBER Patent Citations Data File: Lessons, Insights and Methodological Tools," Papers 2001-29, Tel Aviv.
    3. 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.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • K0 - Law and Economics - - General
    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights
    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital

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