Institutions and Elites: Property, Contract, the State, and Rights in Information in the Global Economy
11 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2001
Date Written: December 2001
This paper examines the interplay between intellectual property rules and forces driving globalization in the world economy. It argues against the view that multilateral enforcement of standardized intellectual property rules offers the greatest promise for further development. I argue that standardization obtained through international institutions such as the World Trade Organization or the United Nation's World Intellectual Property Organization offer rent-seeking opportunities to affected industries. The drive toward a collective outcome, and particularly the linkage between intellectual property harmonization and cooperation on other issues, undermines the ability of dissenting governments to withhold approval. Nor does judicially developed harmonization hold out much promise. Instead, I argue, local autonomy in developing intellectual property rules and private party autonomy in choosing intellectual property regimes can work in tandem as a regime most likely to enhance the welfare benefits of these rights.
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