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Access to vs. exclusion from knowledge: Intellectual property, efficiency and social justice

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  • Ramello, Giovanni B.

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Abstract

The main rationale for intellectual property relies on the thesis of the incentive to create. Creators and inventors are economic agents attracted by the returns they expect from their effort. This depiction is practical, but does not give due weight to the complexity of knowledge production. This work does not contest the potential benefit of the opportunity for creators and inventors to reap some profit from their work. Rather, it considers the idiosyncratic nature of knowledge, which is simultaneously input, output and productive technology, and is closely linked to the social dimension. This provides further insight into the production process and suggests a significantly different framework for policy. More specifically, because of the increasing returns governing creative technology, the efficiency criterion used to guide the economic choice calls for weak intellectual property rights, thus preserving wide access to knowledge. A stronger appropriation regime would significantly impair the total outcome of the creative processes. Interestingly, this appears to apply equally from a social justice perspective, perhaps in an effortless solution to the age-old trade-off between economic efficiency and social justice.

Suggested Citation

  • Ramello, Giovanni B., 2007. "Access to vs. exclusion from knowledge: Intellectual property, efficiency and social justice," POLIS Working Papers 90, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS.
  • Handle: RePEc:uca:ucapdv:90
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    7. Bentham, Jeremy, 1843. "A Manual of Political Economy," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number bentham1843.
    8. Kenneth Carlaw & Les Oxley & Paul Walker & David Thorns & Michael Nuth, 2006. "BEYOND THE HYPE: INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AND THE KNOWLEDGE SOCIETY/KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(4), pages 633-690, September.
    9. Richard N. Langlois, 2000. "Knowledge, Consumption, and Endogenous Growth," Working papers 2000-02, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
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    12. Julia Porter Liebeskind & Amalya Lumerman Oliver & Lynne G. Zucker & Marilynn B. Brewer, 1995. "Social Networks, Learning, and Flexibility: Sourcing Scientific Knowledge in New Biotechnology Firms," NBER Working Papers 5320, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Giovanni Ramello, 2011. "Property rights and externalities: the uneasy case of knowledge," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 31(1), pages 123-141, February.
    2. Marchese, Carla & Marsiglio, Simone & Privileggi, Fabio & Ramello, Giovanni, 2014. "Endogenous Recombinant Growth through Market Production of Knowledge and Intellectual Property Rights," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 201413, University of Turin.
    3. Stefania Ottone & Ferruccio Ponzano, 2011. "How people perceive the Welfare State: a real-effort experiment," International Review of Economics, Springer;Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations (HEIRS), vol. 58(2), pages 165-183, June.
    4. Privileggi, Fabio, 2007. "The cutoff policy of taxation when CRRA taxpayers differ in risk aversion coefficients and income: a proof," POLIS Working Papers 99, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS.
    5. Davide Ticchi & Andrea Vindigni, 2007. "War and Endogenous Democracy," Working Papers 0715, University of Urbino Carlo Bo, Department of Economics, Society & Politics - Scientific Committee - L. Stefanini & G. Travaglini, revised 2007.
    6. Daron Acemoglu & Davide Ticchi & Andrea Vindigni, 2010. "A Theory of Military Dictatorships," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 1-42, January.
    7. Marchese, Carla, 2008. "The limits to growth then and now," POLIS Working Papers 105, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS.
    8. Montefiori, Marcello & Resta, Marina, 2008. "Social influence and neighbourhood effects in the health care market," POLIS Working Papers 98, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS.
    9. Piero Cavaleri & Michael Keren & Giovanni B. Ramello & Vittorio Valli, 2009. "Publishing an E-Journal on a Shoe String: Is It a Sustainable Project?," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 89-101, March.
    10. Ottone, Stefania & Ponzano, Ferruccio, 2007. "Non-self-centered inequity aversion matters. A model," POLIS Working Papers 91, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    intellectual property rights; knowledge production; increasing returns; knowledge sharing; productivity; social justice;

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O38 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Government Policy
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation

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