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Incentives to Innovate and Social Harm: Laissez-Faire, Authorization or Penalties?

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Abstract

We analyze optimal policy design when firms' research activity may lead to socially harmful innovations. Public intervention, affecting the expected profitability of innovation, may both thwart the incentives to undertake research (average deterrence) and guide the use to which innovation is put (marginal deterrence). We show that public intervention should become increasingly stringent as the probability of social harm increases, switching first from laissez-faire to a penalty regime, then to a lenient authorization regime, and finally to a strict one. In contrast, absent innovative activity, regulation should rely only on authorizations, and laissez-faire is never optimal. Therefore, in innovative industries regulation should be softer.

Suggested Citation

  • Giovanni Immordino & Marco Pagano & Michele Polo, 2009. "Incentives to Innovate and Social Harm: Laissez-Faire, Authorization or Penalties?," CSEF Working Papers 220, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  • Handle: RePEc:sef:csefwp:220
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    1. Giovanni Immordino & Marco Pagano, 2010. "Legal Standards, Enforcement, and Corruption," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(5), pages 1104-1132, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Joshua Schwartzstein & Andrei Shleifer, 2013. "An Activity-Generating Theory of Regulation," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56(1), pages 1-38.
    2. Immordino, Giovanni & Polo, Michele, 2014. "Antitrust, legal standards and investment," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 36-50.
    3. repec:kap:ijhcfe:v:17:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s10754-016-9208-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Luca Anderlini & Leonardo Felli & Giovanni Immordino & Alessandro Riboni, 2013. "Legal Institutions, Innovation, And Growth," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 54, pages 937-956, August.
    5. repec:eee:ecolet:v:159:y:2017:i:c:p:92-95 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Julien Jacob, 2015. "Innovation in Risky Industries under Liability Law: The Case of Double-Impact Innovations," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 171(3), pages 385-404, September.
    7. Giovanni Immordino & Michele Polo, 2012. "Antitrust in Innovative Industries: the Optimal Legal Standards," Working Papers 434, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    8. Magda Bianco & Giulio Napolitano, 2011. "The Italian Administrative System: Why a Source of Competitive Disadvantage?," Quaderni di storia economica (Economic History Working Papers) 24, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    9. Giovanni Immordino & Michele Polo, 2014. "Public Policies in Investment-Intensive Industries," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: THE ANALYSIS OF COMPETITION POLICY AND SECTORAL REGULATION, chapter 13, pages 365-388 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    10. repec:dau:papers:123456789/7722 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Friehe, Tim & Schulte, Elisabeth, 2017. "Uncertain product risk, information acquisition, and product liability," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 159(C), pages 92-95.
    12. Giovanni Immordino & Michele Polo, 2011. "Optimal Legal Standards in Antitrust: Traditional v. Innovative Industries," Working Papers 420, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    innovation; liability for harm; safety regulation; authorization;

    JEL classification:

    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • K21 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Antitrust Law
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation

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