Imitations, economic activity and welfare
The literature on innovation has traditionally seen imitation processes as harmful to the development of new technologies, adverse for growth and detrimental to the welfare of consumers, producers and society at large. However, as we show in our paper, despite this widespread belief, imitation processes have a significant and positive impact on economic activity. Among other effects, they allow excluded consumers access to new products, stimulate competition in the innovation process, encourage innovative activity and constitute a first step in developing more complex innovations. Therefore, as we will show through the development of two models -and despite the assertions of many politicians, interest groups and economists-, a lower strength patent system and an increase in the activities of imitation could i) increase the benefits to industry as a whole ii) lead to greater social surplus.
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