Do Intellectual Property Rights Make Us Less Happy? Subjective Well-Being and the Number of Designs

26 Pages Posted: 17 Aug 2016

See all articles by Estelle Derclaye

Estelle Derclaye

University of Nottingham, School of law

Aloys Prinz

University of Muenster - Institute for Public Economics

Date Written: August 16, 2016

Abstract

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

Derclaye, Estelle and Prinz, Aloys, Do Intellectual Property Rights Make Us Less Happy? Subjective Well-Being and the Number of Designs (August 16, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2824403 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2824403

Estelle Derclaye

University of Nottingham, School of law ( email )

Nottingham NG7 2RD
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/law2/staff/estelle.derclaye

Aloys Prinz (Contact Author)

University of Muenster - Institute for Public Economics ( email )

Wilmergasse 6 – 8
Münster, 48143
Germany

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