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Inventors and Pirates: Creative Activity and Intellectual Property Rights

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  • Herschel I. Grossman

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Herschel I. Grossman, 2000. "Inventors and Pirates: Creative Activity and Intellectual Property Rights," NBER Working Papers 7898, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7898
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Cozzi, Guido, 2001. "Inventing or Spying? Implications for Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 55-77, March.
    3. 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.
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    5. Herschel I. Grossman & Minseong Kim, 2002. "Predation, Efficiency, and Inequality," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 158(3), pages 393-393, September.
    6. 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, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(3), pages 805-851.
    7. Bruno Biais & Enrico Perotti, 2008. "Entrepreneurs and new ideas," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(4), pages 1105-1125.
    8. Usher, D, 1987. "Theft as a Paradigm for Departures from Efficiency," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 39(2), pages 235-252, June.
    9. 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 561-574, September.
    10. 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.
    11. Herschel I. Grossman & Minseong Kim, 2003. "Educational Policy: Egalitarian or Elitist?," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(3), pages 225-246, November.
    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. Herschel I. Grossman, 1998. "Producers and Predators," Working Papers 98-6, Brown University, Department of Economics.
    14. 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 561-580, June.
    15. 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.
    16. 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, Specia), pages 783-832.
    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, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kolmar, Martin, 2005. "The contribution of Herschel I. Grossman to political economy," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 802-814, December.
    2. Fujii, Dmitri, 2009. "Who Wants To Be a Genius?," Panorama Económico, Escuela Superior de Economía, Instituto Politécnico Nacional, vol. 0(09), pages 7-54, segundo s.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • 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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