nep-ipr New Economics Papers
on Intellectual Property Rights
Issue of 2016‒10‒30
six papers chosen by
Giovanni Ramello
Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale “Amedeo Avogadro”

  1. Patents as Substitutes for Relationships By Saidi, Farzad; Zaldokas, Alminas
  3. A New (Intellectual) Property Right for Non-Personal Data? An Economic Analysis By Wolfgang Kerber
  4. Dynamics of Human Capital Accumulation, IPR Policy, and Growth By Bharat Diwakar; Gilad Sorek
  5. What's in a Name? The Effect of Brand on the Level of English Universities' Fees By Andrew Jenkins; Alison Wolf
  6. What’s in a Name? Information, Heterogeneity, and Quality in a Theory of Nested Names By Yu, Jianyu; Bouamra-Mechemache, Zohra; Zago, Angelo

  1. By: Saidi, Farzad; Zaldokas, Alminas
    Abstract: Firms face a trade-off between patenting, thereby disclosing innovation, and secrecy. In this paper, we show how such public-information provision through patents acts as a substitute for private information acquired in financial relationships. As a shock to innovation disclosure, we use the American Inventor's Protection Act that made the content of firms' patent applications public within 18 months after filing, rather than at the grant date. Firms in industries that experienced a greater change in the publicity of their patent applications were significantly more likely to switch lenders. We also consider the reverse link of the substitution relationship, and explore the impact of improved lender informedness following the creation of universal banks on firms' patenting behavior. We find that firms patent less, without negatively altering their investment in innovation and its outcomes, such as new-product announcements.
    Keywords: corporate disclosure; Information Acquisition; innovation; loan contracting; patenting
    JEL: G20 G21 O31
    Date: 2016–10
  2. By: Staudigel, Matthias; Anders, Sven
    Abstract: Recent controversial policy proposals have aimed at creating a healthier food supply by means of taxation, minimum quality standards or nutritional labeling. Yet the outcomes of such policies strongly depend on the competitive structures and thus substitution processes of individual products within categories, which are not well understood. The objective of this paper is to quantify the source and impact of differentiation in ingredient formulation and especially product health attributes on the competitive positioning of brands under heterogeneous consumer preferences. We employ Berry, Levinsohn and Pakes’ (1995) random-coefficient logit framework to estimate product-level demand for highly differentiated potato and tortilla chips in the U.S. We are specifically interested in the extent to which heterogeneous consumers respond to changes in product formulation, pricing and brand attributes. Our results support the unhealthy-tasty intuition hypothesis to a certain degree with consumers’ utility increasing in sodium and saturated fat levels but decreasing in energy and total fat content. Results further suggest strong impacts of price, brand, and flavor effects on band-level market shares. Our analysis underlines the trade-offs involved in food manufacturers’ decisions to reformulate products in order to comply with policy and public demands for healthier product options that do not sacrifice taste.
    Keywords: Brand-level demand, differentiated products, health-taste trade-off, retail scanner data, random-coefficients logit, Demand and Price Analysis, Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety, Industrial Organization,
    Date: 2016
  3. By: Wolfgang Kerber (University of Marburg)
    Abstract: The discussion about appropriate legal rules for the digital economy has raised the question of the ownership of non-personal data, e.g. in the context of value networks of firms, smart manufacturing and connected cars. The article analyzes from an economic perspective whether there is a need for a new exclusive IPR on data. It is shown that there are no convincing economic arguments for the in-troduction of such a new IPR, especially due to the lack of an incentive problem for the production and analysis of data. On the contrary, a new IPR on data might lead to considerable problems and dangers for competition and innovation, especially for the digital economy, which depends on the access to a broad variety of data. Therefore problems of access to data might be a much more im-portant policy issue than exclusive property rights on data.
    Keywords: Digital economy, data ownership, intellectual property
    Date: 2016
  4. By: Bharat Diwakar; Gilad Sorek
    Abstract: We study the effect of IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) policy on growth, in a closed overlapping-generations economy, which undergoes transitional development phase of human capital accumulation. We show that the growth-maximizing policy is stage-dependent: in the early development phase, during which innovation cost is high relative to worker productivity, weak IPR protection can expedite economic growth and may be necessary to escape long run stagnation. Weaker IPR protection erodes monopolistic deadweight loss and, thereby, increases aggregate output and saving. However, it also shifts investment away from R&D activity towards the formation of physical capital. We show that the former (positive) effect is dominant during the early development phase. However, as human capital is further accumulated, and labor productivity correspondingly increases, economic growth is maximized with stronger IPR protection.
    Keywords: Stage-Dependent IPR, OLG, Human Capital, Development and Growth
    JEL: O31 O34
    Date: 2016–10
  5. By: Andrew Jenkins (Department of Social Science, University College London); Alison Wolf (School of Management, King's College London)
    Abstract: Higher education is increasingly competitive and international in its recruitment of both students and faculty, and international 'league tables' are increasingly publicised and discussed. In many jurisdictions, universities also now have freedom to set fees for at least some students, and those with a high reputation are well placed to charge large amounts. England has a university sector which is highly differentiated in reputational terms, and a fee regime which allows universities to set fees for a large proportion of their students. It is therefore possible, using administrative and income data, to examine how far commonly recognised measures of reputation explain universities' teaching income per student, after controlling for a wide range of other factors. The results confirm that reputation, or 'brand', appears to have a very large impact on fee and teaching income, and that it is therefore entirely rational for English universities to prioritise activities which raise their international visibility and reputation.
    Keywords: Fees, Teaching income, Brand, University reputation, University revenue
    JEL: I22 I23
  6. By: Yu, Jianyu; Bouamra-Mechemache, Zohra; Zago, Angelo
    Abstract: Collective labels are widespread in food markets, either separated or nested with private brands, in this latter case then known as nested names. We propose a model to explain the rationale of nested names, with collective labels being effective in reaching unaware consumers, while individual brands helping firms in reaching expert consumers. We also incorporate the decision-making process within the group of producers joining collective labels, taking into account their heterogeneity in providing quality. Results show that nested names emerge when consumers become more aware about the label's quality information and when producers become more heterogeneous. Welfare tough may decrease when the group switches to nested names, as they reduce incentives to provide quality for less efficient producers. The results provide insights also to the historical and recent trends in food industries, such as within-label differentiation and label fragmentation, and their welfare implications.
    Keywords: individual brands, collective labels, nested names, consumers' awareness, firms' heterogeneity in quality provision, Agricultural and Food Policy,
    Date: 2016

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