nep-ipr New Economics Papers
on Intellectual Property Rights
Issue of 2007‒06‒02
six papers chosen by
Roland Kirstein
Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg

  1. SME Performance, Innovation and Networking Evidence on Complementarities for a Local Economic System By Massimiliano Mazzanti; Susanna Mancinelli
  2. Outsourcing when Investments are Specific and Complementary By Alla Lileeva; Johannes Van Biesebroeck
  3. The Ex Ante Auction Model for the Control of Market Power in Standard Setting Organizations By Geradin, Damien; Layne-Farrar, Anna; Padilla, Atilano Jorge
  4. Pricing strategies in software platforms : video consoles vs. operating systems By María Fernanda Viecens
  5. The Role of Technological Complexity and Absorptive Capacity in Internalization Decision By Arti
  6. When do Thick Venture Capital Markets Foster Innovation? An Evolutionary Analysis By Luca Colombo; Herbert Dawid; Kordian Kabus

  1. By: Massimiliano Mazzanti (University of Ferrara); Susanna Mancinelli (University of Ferrara)
    Abstract: The paper addresses the relevancy of networking activities and R&D as main drivers of productivity performance and ouput innovation, for small and medium enterprises (SME) playing in a local economic system. Given the intangible nature of many techno organisational innovation and networking strategies, original recent survey data for manufacturing and services are exploited. The aim is to provide new evidence on the complementarity relationships concerning different networking activities and R&D in a local SME oriented system in Northern Italy. We first introduce a methodological framework to empirically test complementarity among R&D and networking, in a discrete setting. Secondly, we consequently present empirical evidence on productivity drivers and on complementarity between R&D and networking strategies, with respect to firm productivity and process/product output innovation. R&D is a main driver of innovation and productivity, even without networking. This may signify, in association with the evidence on complementarity, that firm expenditures on R&D are a primary driver for performance. The complementarity with networking is a consequential step. Networking by itself cannot thus play a role in stimulating productivity and innovation. It can be a complementary factor in situations where cooperation and networking are needed to achieve economies of scale and/or to merge and integrate diverse skills, technologies and competencies. This is compatible with a framework where networking is the public good part of an impure public good wherein R&D plays the part of the private-led driving force towards structural break from the business as usual scenario. Managers and policy makers should be aware that in order to exploit asset complementarity, possibly transformed into competitive advantages, both R&D and networking are to be sustained and favoured. our evidence suggests that R&D may be a single main driver of performance. Since R&D expenditures are associated with firm size, a policy sustain is to be directed towards firm enlargement. After a certain threshold firms have the force to increase expenditures. The size effect is nevertheless non monotonous. Then, but not least important, for the majority of firms still remaining under a critical size threshold, policy incentives should be directed to R&D in connection with networking, through which a virtuous circle may arise. It is worth noting that it is not networking as such the main engine. Networking elements are crucially linked to innovation dynamics; it is nevertheless innovation that explains and drives networking, and not the often claimed mere existence of local spillovers or of a civic associative culture in the territory. Such public good factors exist but are likely to evolve with and be sustained by firm innovative dynamics.
    Keywords: Firm Competitiveness, Innovation, R&D, Networking, Complementarity, Local Economic System
    JEL: D21 L25 O3 O14 Z13
    Date: 2007–04
  2. By: Alla Lileeva; Johannes Van Biesebroeck
    Abstract: Using the universe of large Canadian manufacturing firms in 1988 and 1996, we investigate to what extent firms' outsourcing decision can be explained by a simple property rights model. A novel aspect of the data is the availability of component level information on outputs as well as inputs which permits the construction of a very detailed measure of vertical integration. Moreover, we construct five different measures of technological intensity to proxy for investments that are likely to be specific to a buyer-seller relationship. Our main findings are that (i) greater specificity makes outsourcing less likely; (ii) complementarities between the investments of the buyer and the seller are also associated with less outsourcing; (iii) only when we focus on the range of transactions with low complementarities do we find support for several nuanced predictions of the property rights model.
    Keywords: Property rights theory, complementarity, asset specificity, vertical integration
    JEL: L14 D23
    Date: 2007–05–22
  3. By: Geradin, Damien; Layne-Farrar, Anna; Padilla, Atilano Jorge
    Abstract: RAND commitments - i.e., promises to license on reasonable and non-discriminatory terms - play a key role in standard setting processes. However, the usefulness of those commitments has recently been questioned. The problem allegedly lies in the absence of a generally agreed test to determine whether a particular license satisfies a RAND commitment. Swanson and Baumol have suggested that "the concept of a ‘reasonable’ royalty for purposes of RAND licensing must be defined and implemented by reference to ex ante competition." In their opinion, a royalty should be deemed 'reasonable' when it approximates the outcome of an ex ante auction process where IP owners submit RAND commitments coupled with licensing terms and selection to the standard is based on both technological merit and licensing terms. In this paper we investigate whether the ex ante auction approach proposed by Swanson and Baumol is likely to deliver efficient outcomes, both from static and dynamic standpoints. We find that given the peculiar characteristics of some of the industries where standardization takes place, in particular the many different business models adopted by innovating companies in those industries, the ex ante auction approach proposed by Swanson and Baumol may not always deliver the right outcomes from a social welfare viewpoint.
    Keywords: auctions; fairness; licensing; standard setting
    JEL: K21 L24
    Date: 2007–05
  4. By: María Fernanda Viecens
    Abstract: We study software platforms for which the total amount that users spend depends on the twosided pricing strategy of the platform firm, and on the pricing strategy of application developers. When setting prices, developers may be constrained by one of two margins: the demand margin and the competition margin. By analyzing how these margins affect pricing strategies we find some conditions which explain features of the market of operating systems and its differences with the one corresponding to the video consoles. The problem that arises when the platform does not set prices (as an open platform) is considered. We show that policy makers should promote open source in operating systems platforms but not necessarily in video consoles. We also analyze the incentives for a platform to integrate with applications as a function of the extent of substitutability among them and provide a possible explanation for the observed fact of vertical disintegration in these industries.
    Date: 2007–05
  5. By: Arti (Delhi School of Economics)
    Abstract: Technology transfer costs have a profound influence on the firm’s entry mode into a production sharing relationship. To explore this nexus, we associate technological complexity of the off-shored input with the organizational mode of international production sharing by extending the Antràs (2005) model. We modify the Antràs model by proposing that the low-tech input, as qualified within the model, cannot be produced in the low wage south without costly technology transfer. The cost of technology transfer in turn depends on three factors, which are the technological complexity of this input, the absorptive capacity of the host country and the wages of the host country. Our model refines the results obtained in Antràs (2005). We find that 1. For high-tech goods, intra-firm transfer is preferred vis-à-vis outsourcing only for intermediate range of technological complexity of the off-shored input 2. On the other hand, for low-tech goods, where the likelihood of outsourcing is higher in Antràs, intra-firm offshore contract is still possible for low range of technological complexity. Our model has policy suggestions for host countries which aspire to maximize their benefits from the exploding global production phenomenon. As the wage gap between the source and the host country falls, cost considerations for offshoring disappear. New sources of comparative advantage should therefore be created in the host country by subsidizing technology investment and higher education to build higher absorptive capacity.
    Keywords: Outsourcing, Foreign Direct Investment, Technology Transfer, Absorptive Capacity.
    JEL: D23 F12 F23 L22 L33
    Date: 2007–05
  6. By: Luca Colombo (DISCE, Università Cattolica); Herbert Dawid (Bielefeld University); Kordian Kabus (Bielefeld University)
    Abstract: In this paper we examine the trade off between different effects of the availability of venture capital on the speed of technological progress in an industry. We consider an evolutionary industry simulation model based on Nelson and Winter (1982) where R&D efforts of an incumbent firm generate technological know-how embodied in key R&D employees, who might use this know-how to found a spinoff of the incumbent. Venture capital is needed to finance a spinoff, and therefore the expected profits from founding a spinoff depend on how easily venture capital can be acquired. Accordingly, thick venture capital markets might have two opposing effects. First, incentives of firms to invest in R&D might be reduced and, second, if spinoff formation results in technological spillovers between the parent firm and the spinoffs, the generation of spinoff firms might positively influence the future efficiency of the incumbent's innovation efforts. We study how this tradeoff influences the effect of venture capital on the innovation expenditures, speed of technological change and the evolution of industry concentration in several scenarios with different industry characteristics.
    Keywords: Venture Capital, Technological Progress, R&D Effort, Spinoff, Industry Evolution
    JEL: O30 J30 L20
    Date: 2007–03

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