Migration and Imitation
44 Pages Posted: 27 Jan 2020
Date Written: December 6, 2019
This paper develops a North-South trade model with heterogeneous labour and horizontally differentiated products and compares the implications of two policies: Southern intellectual property rights (IPRs) and Northern immigration policy that aims to attract Southern talent as means of preempting imitation. Individuals self-select into becoming entrepreneurs and innovate (imitate) in the North (South). The likelihood of imitation depends on product quality, imitator's ability, and strength of IPRs. Several interrelated channels of competition are identified. Allowing high-ability migration when IPRs protection in the South is weak shifts imitation to low-quality and innovation to high-quality products. The outcome is in stark contrast to the policy of strengthening IPRs, which limits low-quality imitation and encourages low-quality innovation. High-ability migration also increases the income of low-ability entrepreneurs, as well as the average quality of products in the high-ability imitation sector in the South.
Keywords: Intellectual property rights, High-skilled migration, Imitation, Innovation, Product quality, Entrepreneur ability
JEL Classification: F22, O31, O34, J24, K37, O38
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation