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Patents and Innovations for Growth and Welfare
Claude Ménard and Mary M. Shirley
When New Institutional Economics (NIE) first appeared on the scholarly scene in the early 1970s, it was a transformative movement. NIE aimed to radically alter orthodox economics by showing that institutions are multidimensional and matter in significant ways that can be statistically measured and systematically modeled. In the decades since, thousands of articles and books have pursued this premise and NIE has evolved from an upstart movement to a major influence on researchers in economics, political science, law, management, and sociology. What made New Institutional Economics a radical idea was that it abandoned: [. . .]the standard neoclassical assumptions that individuals have perfect information and unbounded rationality and that transactions are costless and instantaneous. NIE assumes instead that individuals have incomplete information and limited mental capacity and because of this they face uncertainty about unforeseen events and outcomes and incur transaction costs to acquire information. To reduce risk and transaction costs humans create institutions, writing and enforcing constitutions, laws, contracts and regulations – so-called formal institutions – and structuring and inculcating norms of conduct, beliefs and habits of thought and behavior – or informal institutions. (Menard and Shirley, 2005, p. 1)
Edited by Claude Ménard and Mary M. Shirley
The aim of this ending chapter is to present a structured summary of the previous chapters and tie them together through lingering on some cross-chapter themes and contributions in view of the aims of the book. Some of the main themes in this book at macro-level will moreover be tied into a previous book of mine 20 years back (as of April 2018) on the rise of intellectual capitalism and the economics and management of IP at micro-level. The chapter will end with a final plea for transnational technology and innovation governance in light of the crucial roles of new technologies and innovations and for global challenges and welfare. The general aim of this book has been to present a research-based analysis of the linkages between R & D, patents, innovations, growth and welfare and thereby increase our knowledge about how R & D of new technologies and innovations can contribute to growth and ultimately to welfare in society. A corollary aim has then been to focus specifically on patents and their linkages since patent and IP issues have been somewhat disconnected in general from R & D, innovations and economic growth in studies and debate of the latter. A subsidiary aim has been to clarify and offer a number of key concepts, distinctions and models in an attempt to contribute to a professional language in the innovation policy and management area. A final aim of the book has been to contribute to research in the innovation and IP area by offering some answers to common research questions as well as offering methods and suggestions for further IP policy research.