Staff Report 360

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Intellectual Property and Market Size

Michele Boldrin
David K. Levine - Visiting Scholar

Published March 1, 2005

Abstract
Intellectual property protection involves a trade-off between the undesirability of monopoly and the desirable encouragement of creation and innovation. As the scale of the market increases, due either to economic and population growth or to the expansion of trade through treaties such as the World Trade Organization, this trade-off changes. We show that, generally speaking, the socially optimal amount of protection decreases as the scale of the market increases. We also provide simple empirical estimates of how much it should decrease.


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