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The Inefficiency of Patents when R&D Projects are Imperfectly Correlated and Imitation Takes Time

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In a realistic framework where the potential innovators' research lines are imperfectly correlated and imitation takes some time, this paper studies an industry regulated by an authority that can subsidize the firms' R&D expenditures. By comparing the market equilibrium emerging when there is patent protection with the market equilibrium emerging without patents, the paper finds that social welfare is higher in the absence of patents. This result is driven by the fact that, without patents, more than one successful inventor may implement its discovery and enter the market, thus reducing the deadweight loss due to imperfect competition.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-06-01

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  • Founded as Zeitschrift für die gesamte Staatswissenschaft in 1844.

    As one of the oldest journals in the field of political economy, the Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE) deals traditionally with the problems of economics, social policy, and their legal framework. JITE is listed in the Journal of Economic Literature, the Social Science Citation Index, the International Bibliography of the Social Sciences, and COREJ.

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