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The Political Economy of Intellectual Property Treaties

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  • Suzanne Scotchmer

Abstract

Intellectual property treaties have two main types of provisions: national treatment of foreign inventors, and harmonization of protections. I address the positive question of when countries would want to treat foreign inventors the same as domestic inventors, and how their incentive to do so depends on reciprocity. I also investigate an equilibrium in which regional policy makers choose IP policies that serve regional interests, conditional on each other's policies. I compare these policies with a notion of what is optimal, and argue that harmonization will involve stronger IP protection than independent choices. Harmonization can either enhance or reduce global welfare. Levels of public and private R&D spending will be lower than if each country took account of the uncompensated externalities that its R&D spending confers on other countries. The more extensive protection engendered by attempts at harmonization are a partial remedy.

Suggested Citation

  • Suzanne Scotchmer, 2002. "The Political Economy of Intellectual Property Treaties," NBER Working Papers 9114, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9114
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    1. Gene M. Grossman & Edwin L.-C. Lai, 2004. "International Protection of Intellectual Property," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1635-1653, December.
    2. Nancy Gallini & Suzanne Scotchmer, 2002. "Intellectual Property: When Is It the Best Incentive System?," NBER Chapters,in: Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 2, pages 51-78 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Moonsung Kang, 2000. "Patent Infringement and Strategic Trade Policies : R&D and Export Subsidies," Trade Working Papers 21759, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
    4. Suzanne Scotchmer, 2004. "The Political Economy of Intellectual Property Treaties," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(2), pages 415-437, October.
    5. Moonsung Kang, 2000. "Patent Protection and Strategic Trade Policy," Trade Working Papers 21761, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
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    14. 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.
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    JEL classification:

    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade
    • L5 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy

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