INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY, INNOVATION, AND GROWTH: INTRODUCTION TO THE SPECIAL ISSUE

Publication Date01 Sep 2009
AuthorGuido Cozzi
DOIhttp://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9485.2009.00490.x
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY,
INNOVATION, AND GROWTH:
INTRODUCTION TO THE SPECIAL ISSUE
Guido Cozzi
n
I Intro ductio n
This issue collects a group of original contributions that analyse different aspects
of the effect of intellectual property rights (IPR) on innovation and growth.
Recently, many scholars
1
have questioned whether the very existence of
intellectual protection – in the forms of patents and trade secret protection
2
is useful to induce innovation at the national and international level.
3
As the
reader will see from this volume, depending on the issue one analyses, the answer
can go either way. What we are learning is that there are not unambiguous
effects of IPR extensions on innovation and growth. Therefore, in the real world
applications of economic theory, judgement must be critically dependent on the
specific case we are dealing with. In this Issue, we will see how innovation can
proceed relatively well without intellectual property whatsoever, as Tetsugen
Haruyama’s and Michele Boldrin’s papers prove. We will also see – in Bronwyn
Hall’s analysis – how heterogeneous subject matters patents may cover, with
different implications on the correct incentives for innovators, also taking into
account that some innovation is publicly provided – as in Cozzi and Galli’s
model. Moreover, the international dimension may matter substantially, both
with asymmetric countries – Connolly, Peretto and Sa’s model – and with
symmetric countries – Luca Spinesi’s essay. All these papers are cast with the
whole economy in mind, and explicitly consider implications and feedbacks that
go beyond a single sector, industry or decision-maker. In the next sections,
I briefly summarize and discuss the contributions in this issue of the Scottish
Journal of Political Economy on Intellectual Property, Innovation, and Growth.
II Innovationan d Growth WithoutIPR
Can profit seeking firms undertake enough innovative activities even in the
absence of patents or trade secret protection? The authors of the works
summarized in this section prove that this is possible.
n
Department of Economics, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK.
1
See e.g. Boldrin and Levine (2002a), Lerner and Tirole (2005), Maurer and Scotchmer
(2006), Bessen and Maskin (2006).
2
See Cozzi (2001) for the positive effects of trade secrets protection on product quality
improving R&D-driven growth. The effects of trade secret laws on growth become more
controversial if we take into account the interactions between the creation of new varieties and
the increase in product quality, as shown by Cozzi and Spinesi (2006).
3
See, e.g., Helpman (1993).
Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 56, No. 4, September 2009
r2009 The Author
Journal compilation r2009 Scottish Economic Society. Published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd,
9600 Garsington Road, Oxford, OX4 2DQ, UK and 350 Main St, Malden, MA, 02148, USA
383

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