Intellectual Property Rights, Institutional Quality and Economic Growth

45 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2011 Last revised: 3 Jan 2015

Lewis Davis

Union College - Department of Economics

M. Fuat Sener

Union College - Department of Economics

Date Written: May 6, 2012

Abstract

We consider the role of intellectual property rights (IPRs) in a Schumpeterian growth model in which patent holders face the threats of profit loss due to imitation and complete replacement due to successful outside innovation. In this setting stronger IPR enforcement has both imitation and innovating deterring effects. We disaggregate IPR policies by distinguishing between two features of IPRs protection. The first is the intensity of IPR enforcement, which is determined by the fraction of resources allocated to innovation and imitation deterrence. The second is the quality of the IPR regime, which reflects the ability of the IPR regime to shift enforcement resources away from innovation deterrence and towards imitation deterrence.

We find that an increase in the quality of the IPR regime unambiguously promotes growth. However, an increase in the intensity of IPR enforcement increases growth if and only if the threat of imitation is above a threshold level. We show that there exists a growth-maximizing level of IPR enforcement intensity, which is decreasing in institutional quality. We also show that countries with sufficiently low quality institutions will be trapped in a no-growth boundary equilibrium, regardless of the intensity of IPR enforcement. Simulation exercises indicate that welfare-maximizing policies follow patterns similar to growth-maximization policies. The economy can have too much or too little IPR enforcement intensity. For countries with sufficiently low institutional quality, welfare is maximized by completely foregoing IPR protection and eliminating monopolistic markets, even though positive growth may be feasible with appropriate intensity of IPR enforcement.

Keywords: Technological Change, Institutional Quality, Growth, Imitation, Innovation, Intellectual Property Rights

JEL Classification: O1, O34, O43

Suggested Citation

Davis, Lewis and Sener, M. Fuat, Intellectual Property Rights, Institutional Quality and Economic Growth (May 6, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1815258 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1815258

Lewis S. Davis (Contact Author)

Union College - Department of Economics ( email )

Schenectady, NY 12308-3107
United States

M. Fuat Sener

Union College - Department of Economics ( email )

Schenectady, NY 12308-3107
United States
(518) 388-7093 (Phone)
(518) 388-6988 (Fax)

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