EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

Trade secrets and innovation: Evidence from the "inevitable disclosure" doctrine

Andrea Contigiani, David H. Hsu and Iwan Barankay

Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economics of Change from WZB Berlin Social Science Center

Abstract: Does heightened employer-friendly trade secrecy protection help or hinder innovation? By examining U.S. state-level legal adoption of a doctrine allowing employers to curtail inventor mobility if the employee would "inevitably disclose" trade secrets, we investigate the impact of a shifting trade secrecy regime on individual- level patenting outcomes. Using a difference-in-differences design taking un-affected U.S. inventors as the comparison group, we find strengthening employer-friendly trade secrecy adversely affects innovation. We then investigate why. We do not find empirical support for diminished idea recombination from suppressed inventor mobility as the operative mechanism. While shifting intellectual property protection away from patenting into trade secrecy has some explanatory power, our results are consistent with reduced individual-level incentives to signaling quality to the external labor market.

Keywords: innovation; trade secrets; knowledge workers; labor markets; inter-firm mobility (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ipr
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (13)

Downloads: (external link)
https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/180997/1/1028026986.pdf (application/pdf)

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:zbw:wzbeoc:spii2018303

Access Statistics for this paper

More papers in Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economics of Change from WZB Berlin Social Science Center Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics ().

 
Page updated 2024-07-01
Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbeoc:spii2018303