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Contractual Implications of International Trade in Tacit Knowledge


  • Pedro Mendi

    () (School of Economics and Business Administration, University of Navarra)


This paper searches for evidence on the additional difficulty the parties have in contracting for the transfer of know-how relative to the transfer of patented technology. There is empirical evidence, drawn from a sample of contracts for the acquisition of technology by Spanish firms in 1991, that contracts scheduled to last shorter are less likely to include the transfer of know-how. It is also found that technical assistance is bundled together with the transfer of know-how, so as to mitigate opportunistic behavior on the sellers side.

Suggested Citation

  • Pedro Mendi, 2004. "Contractual Implications of International Trade in Tacit Knowledge," Faculty Working Papers 11/04, School of Economics and Business Administration, University of Navarra.
  • Handle: RePEc:una:unccee:wp1104

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. Pedro Mendi, 2005. "The Structure of Payments in Technology Transfer Contracts: Evidence from Spain," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(2), pages 403-429, June.
    3. James J. Anton & Dennis A. Yao, 2002. "The Sale of Ideas: Strategic Disclosure, Property Rights, and Contracting," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(3), pages 513-531.
    4. Kenneth Arrow, 1962. "Economic Welfare and the Allocation of Resources for Invention," NBER Chapters,in: The Rate and Direction of Inventive Activity: Economic and Social Factors, pages 609-626 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Klein, Benjamin, 1996. "Why Hold-Ups Occur: The Self-Enforcing Range of Contractual Relationships," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 34(3), pages 444-463, July.
    6. Choi, Jay Pil, 2001. "Technology transfer with moral hazard," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 19(1-2), pages 249-266, January.
    7. King, John T., 2003. "The sale of unprotected inventions under alternative models of contracting behavior," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 57-77, January.
    8. Arrow, Kenneth J, 1969. "Classificatory Notes on the Production and Transmission of Technological Knowledge," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(2), pages 29-35, May.
    9. Anand, Bharat N & Khanna, Tarun, 2000. "The Structure of Licensing Contracts," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(1), pages 103-135, March.
    10. Arora, Ashish, 1996. "Contracting for tacit knowledge: the provision of technical services in technology licensing contracts," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 233-256, August.
    11. Kamien, Morton I., 1992. "Patent licensing," Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications,in: R.J. Aumann & S. Hart (ed.), Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 11, pages 331-354 Elsevier.
    12. Macho-Stadler, Ines & Martinez-Giralt, Xavier & David Perez-Castrillo, J., 1996. "The role of information in licensing contract design," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 43-57, January.
    13. Caves, Richard E & Crookell, Harold & Killing, J Peter, 1983. "The Imperfect Market for Technology Licenses," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 45(3), pages 249-267, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Martinez, Catalina & Zuniga, Pluvia, 2016. "Contracting for technology transfer: patent licensing and know-how in Brazil," MERIT Working Papers 065, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    2. Chung, Moon Young & Lee, Keun, 2015. "How Absorptive Capacity is Formed in a Latecomer Economy: Different Roles of Foreign Patent and Know-how Licensing in Korea," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 678-694.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • K12 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Contract Law


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