Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 27 No. 1 (Winter 2013)


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Patents and Innovation: Evidence from Economic History

Article Citation

Moser, Petra. 2013. "Patents and Innovation: Evidence from Economic History." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 27(1): 23-44.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.27.1.23


What is the optimal system of intellectual property rights to encourage innovation? Empirical evidence from economic history can help to inform important policy questions that have been difficult to answer with modern data: For example, does the existence of strong patent laws encourage innovation? What proportion of innovations is patented? Is this share constant across industries and over time? How does patenting affect the diffusion of knowledge? How effective are prominent mechanisms, such as patent pools and compulsory licensing, that have been proposed to address problems with the patent system? This essay summarizes results of existing research and highlights promising areas for future research.

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Moser, Petra (Stanford U)

JEL Classifications

K11: Property Law
O31: Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
O34: Intellectual Property Rights


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