2013/23 LEM Working Paper Series

The Role of Intellectual Property Rights in the Development Process, with Some Lessons from Developed Countries: An Introduction

Giovanni Dosi, Joseph Stiglitz
Intellectual Property Rights, Knowledge Accumulation, Innovation, Imitation, Development

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The paper - which will introduce the book Intellectual Property Rights: Legal and Economic Challenges for Development, edited by M. Cimoli, G. Dosi, K. Maskus, R. Okediji, J. Reichman and J. Stiglitz, Oxford University Press, forthcoming - discusses the role of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in the process of development, both from the point of view of the theory and on the grounds of the historical record of nowadays developed and emergent economies. In developed countries, the tightening of the breadth and width of IPR over the last thirty years or so did not seem to display any positive effect on the rates of innovation. Indeed, there is circumstantial evidence to the opposite. And, indeed, a sound theoretic consideration of the nature of technological knowledge and the drivers of its accumulation fully reveals the limitation, possible even the perverse effects, of IPRs. All this is only reinforced in the case of catching-up countries, with respect to which both theory and historical experience suggest that loose and limited IPR are most conducive to knowledge accumulation and technological imitation and absorption.
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