Do Intellectual Property Rights Make Us Less Happy? Subjective Well-Being and the Number of Designs
26 Pages Posted: 17 Aug 2016
Date Written: August 16, 2016
This paper contributes to the question whether technology does increase subjective well-being in a society. Intellectual property rights (IPRs) document the inventiveness of a society and are a legal byproduct of innovations. The impact of these IPRs on subjective well-being are analyzed empirically. In addition to conventional fixed effects estimations, we apply a so-called Gini regression that uses Gini’s mean difference instead of the usual variance as a measure of variation in the data. The estimation results show - in contrast to the expected relationship - that IPRs are negatively correlated with happiness. This finding is robust to different estimation methods. There are two explanation for this surprising conclusion. Firstly, IPRs may not be an adequate proxy variable for inventiveness. Secondly, people may be scared rather than excited by high numbers of new goods and gadgets. Since there is a positive correlation between IPRs and growth, it is presumed that huge amounts of new things do not necessarily improve subjective well-being in advanced economies.
Keywords: inventiveness, creativity, intellectual property rights, patents, designs, subjective well-being
JEL Classification: K11, O34, I31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation