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Intellectual Property and Market Size

Staff Report 360 | Published March 1, 2005

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Authors

Michele Boldrin

David K. Levine Visiting Scholar

Intellectual Property and Market Size

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.