When Does Product Liability Risk Chill Innovation? Evidence from Medical Implants
72 Pages Posted: 24 Sep 2018 Last revised: 1 Jul 2023
Date Written: September 2018
Liability laws designed to compensate for harms caused by defective products may also affect innovation. We examine this issue by exploiting a major quasi-exogenous increase in liability risk faced by US suppliers of polymers used to manufacture medical implants. Difference-in-differences analyses show that this surge in suppliers’ liability risk had a large and negative impact on downstream innovation in medical implants, but it had no significant effect on upstream polymer patenting. Our findings suggest that liability risk can percolate throughout a vertical chain and may have a significant chilling effect on downstream innovation.
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