Dead Poets’ Property - How Does Copyright Influence Price?

60 Pages Posted: 4 Nov 2012 Last revised: 19 Jun 2017

See all articles by Xing Li

Xing Li

Peking University - Guanghua School of Management

Megan MacGarvie

Boston University School of Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Petra Moser

NYU Stern Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: June 15, 2017

Abstract

Copyrights create long-lived intellectual property in goods ranging from science, literature, and music to news, film and software. The economic effects of copyright, however, are difficult to identify in modern settings. This article exploits an unintended differential increase in copyright length under the UK Copyright Act of 1814 – in favor of books by dead authors – to examine the effects of longer copyright terms on price. We find that a doubling in copyright length was associated with a substantial (roughly 50 percent) increase in the price of books. Additional years of copyright improved publishers’ ability to practice intertemporal price discrimination.

Keywords: copyright, creativity, innovation, media, price discrimination.

JEL Classification: O3, K00, N33

Suggested Citation

Li, Xing and MacGarvie, Megan and Moser, Petra, Dead Poets’ Property - How Does Copyright Influence Price? (June 15, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2170447 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2170447

Xing Li

Peking University - Guanghua School of Management ( email )

Peking University
Beijing, Beijing 100871
China

Megan MacGarvie

Boston University School of Management ( email )

595 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Petra Moser (Contact Author)

NYU Stern Department of Economics ( email )

44 West 4th Street
New York, NY 10003
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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