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Innovation, Imitation, and Intellectual Property Rights

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  • Elhanan Helpman

Abstract

The debate between the North and the South about the enforcement of intellectual property rights in the South is examined within a dynamic general equilibrium framework in which the North innovates new products and the South imitates them. A welfare evaluation of a policy of tighter intellectual property rights is provided by decomposing a region's welfare change into four components: terms of trade, production composition, available product choice and intertemporal allocation of consumption spending. The paper provides a theoretical evaluation of each one of these components and their relative size. The analysis proceeds in stages. It begins with an exogenous rate of innovation in order to focus on the first two components. The last two components are added by endogenizing the rate of innovation. Finally, the paper considers the role of foreign direct investment.

Suggested Citation

  • Elhanan Helpman, 1992. "Innovation, Imitation, and Intellectual Property Rights," NBER Working Papers 4081, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4081
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    1. Diwan, Ishac & Rodrik, Dani, 1991. "Patents, appropriate technology, and North-South trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1-2), pages 27-47, February.
    2. Deardorff, Alan V, 1992. "Welfare Effects of Global Patent Protection," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 59(233), pages 35-51, February.
    3. Diamond, Peter A., 1980. "An alternative to steady-state comparisons," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 7-9.
    4. Mansfield, Edwin & Schwartz, Mark & Wagner, Samuel, 1981. "Imitation Costs and Patents: An Empirical Study," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 91(364), pages 907-918, December.
    5. Keith Maskus, 1998. "The international regulation of intellectual property," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 134(2), pages 186-208, June.
    6. Feinberg, Robert M & Rousslang, Donald J, 1990. "The Economic Effects of Intellectual Property Right Infringements," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 63(1), pages 79-90, January.
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