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Macroeconomic Effects of Intellectual Property Rights: An Updated Survey

Chu, Angus (2021): Macroeconomic Effects of Intellectual Property Rights: An Updated Survey.

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Abstract

This paper provides a survey of studies that analyze the macroeconomic effects of intellectual property rights (IPR). The first part of this paper introduces different patent-policy instruments and reviews their effects on R&D and economic growth. This part also discusses the distortionary effects and distributional consequences of IPR protection as well as empirical evidence on the effects of patent rights. Then, the second part considers the international aspects of IPR protection. In summary, this survey draws the following conclusions from the literature. First, different patent-policy instruments have different effects on R&D and economic growth. Second, there is some empirical evidence supporting a positive relationship between IPR protection and innovation, but the evidence is stronger for developed countries than for developing countries. Third, the optimal level of IPR protection should tradeoff the social benefit of innovation against the social costs of multiple distortions and income inequality. Finally, in an open economy, achieving the globally optimal level of protection requires an international coordination (rather than the harmonization) of IPR protection.

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