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An Experiment on Protecting Intellectual Property

Joy Buchanan and Bart Wilson

Working Papers from Chapman University, Economic Science Institute

Abstract: We conduct a laboratory experiment to explore whether the protection of intellectual property (IP) incentivizes people to create non-rivalrous knowledge goods, foregoing the production of other rivalrous goods. In the contrasting treatment with no IP protection, participants are free to resell and remake non-rivalrous knowledge goods originally created by others. We find that creators reap substantial profits when IP is protected and that rampant pirating is not uncommon when there is no IP protection. But most importantly, we find that IP protection in and of itself is neither necessary nor sufficient for generating wealth from the discovery of knowledge goods.

Keywords: intellectual property; experimental economics (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C92 D89 K39 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 36 pages
Date: 2012
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-exp, nep-ino, nep-ipr, nep-pr~ and nep-knm
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (1)

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Journal Article: An experiment on protecting intellectual property (2014) Downloads
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