Vol 1: Theory Vol 2: Analytical Methods
Edited by Ben Depoorter, Peter Menell and David Schwartz
Chapter 24: Economic development and intellectual property rights: key analytical results from economics
This chapter reviews evidence regarding several of the most important relationships between intellectual property rights (IPRs) and economic development. Theoretical analysis generally yields ambiguous predictions, while empirical analysis suffers from the lack of data on key questions. Nonetheless, several interesting findings are discussed. First recent research suggests that patent reforms can expand innovation in emerging countries with sound facilitating conditions. Second, patent reforms in emerging countries have attracted significantly higher inward flows of technology and encouraged the development of export sectors. However, such processes are absent in the poorest countries. Third, simulation models suggest that new patent regimes could raise pharmaceutical prices in developing countries. Recent empirical evidence, however, suggests that this effect may be offset by other factors. Moreover, stronger patent protection induces faster product launches in reforming countries. Thus, the impact of patents on access to medicines in developing economies may not be as negative as often feared.
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