Munich Personal RePEc Archive

International Specialization in Research & Development

Evrin, Alperen (2013): International Specialization in Research & Development.

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Abstract

In this paper, I examine the effects of implementing tighter Intellectual Property Rights in a model of International Trade. In my model, firms in different countries have the choice of committing their resources to introducing new products (product innovation) or to imitating and improving upon current products (process innovation). I analyze the impact of stronger patents on innovation decisions, overall welfare and the distribution of welfare among countries. I show that, depending on parameter values, firms in developed countries (North) may altogether specialize in product innovation or may attain incomplete specialization in the sense that some innovate and some imitate. Welfare analysis will depend on the degree of specialization. In the case of incomplete specialization, tighter IPRs increase the incentives for product innovation in the North but, at the same time, increase the imitation done in the South. This finding is contrary to the conventional argument that states the reverse for imitation rates. In the case of complete specialization, stronger patents do not affect the rate of product innovation but reduce the rate of imitation, and welfare is nonmonotonic in IPRs. Finally, I examine the case of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and predict that stronger patents will increase the FDI while lowering the wages worldwide.

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