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Inventors and Pirates: Creative Activity and Intellectual Property Rights

  • Herschel I. Grossman

This paper analyzes how both the value of ideas created as well as the security of intellectual property rights result from the choices of potentially creative people either to engage in creative activity or to be pirates, and from decisions of people who are engaged in creative activity to allocate time and effort to the guarding of ideas from pirating. An important result is that, although the existence of a small number of geniuses causes a larger fraction of potentially creative people to choose to be pirates and, consequently, makes intellectual property rights less secure, the existence of a small number of geniuses, holding fixed the average level of talent, can result in a larger value of ideas being created. The paper also recognizes the difference between the private value and the social value of the security of intellectual property rights.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w7898.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7898.

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Date of creation: Sep 2000
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Publication status: published as Grossman, Herschel I. "Inventors And Pirates: Creative Activity And Intellectual Property Rights," European Journal of Political Economy, v21(2,Jun), 2005, 269-285.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7898
Note: EFG
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  1. Biais, Bruno & Perotti, Enrico C, 2003. "Entrepreneurs and New Ideas," CEPR Discussion Papers 3864, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Gould, David M. & Gruben, William C., 1996. "The role of intellectual property rights in economic growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 323-350, March.
  3. Cozzi, Guido, 2001. " Inventing or Spying? Implications for Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 55-77, March.
  4. Richard C. Levin & Alvin K. Klevorick & Richard R. Nelson & Sidney G. Winter, 1987. "Appropriating the Returns from Industrial Research and Development," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 18(3), pages 783-832.
  5. Sunil Kanwar & Robert Evenson, 2003. "Does intellectual property protection spur technological change?," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 55(2), pages 235-264, April.
  6. Herschel I. Grossman, 1998. "Producers and Predators," Working Papers 98-6, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  7. Anton, James J & Yao, Dennis A, 1994. "Expropriation and Inventions: Appropriable Rents in the Absence of Property Rights," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 190-209, March.
  8. Hirshleifer, Jack, 1971. "The Private and Social Value of Information and the Reward to Inventive Activity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(4), pages 561-74, September.
  9. 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.
  10. Usher, D, 1987. "Theft as a Paradigm for Departures from Efficiency," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 39(2), pages 235-52, June.
  11. de Meza, David & Gould, J R, 1992. "The Social Efficiency of Private Decisions to Enforce Property Rights," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 561-80, June.
  12. B. Zorina Khan & Kenneth L. Sokoloff, 2001. "The Early Development of Intellectual Property Institutions in the United States," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(3), pages 233-246, Summer.
  13. Nancy T. Gallini, 2002. "The Economics of Patents: Lessons from Recent U.S. Patent Reform," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(2), pages 131-154, Spring.
  14. Herschel I. Grossman & Minseong Kim, 1997. "Predation, Efficiency, and Inequality," NBER Working Papers 6301, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Herschel I. Grossman & Minseong Kim, 2003. "Educational Policy: Egalitarian or Elitist?," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(3), pages 225-246, November.
  16. Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, 2001. "The Firm As A Dedicated Hierarchy: A Theory Of The Origins And Growth Of Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(3), pages 805-851, August.
  17. Walter G. Park & Juan Carlos Ginarte, 1997. "Intellectual Property Rights And Economic Growth," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 15(3), pages 51-61, 07.
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