Research Handbook on the Economics of Intellectual Property Law
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Research Handbook on the Economics of Intellectual Property Law

Vol 1: Theory Vol 2: Analytical Methods

Edited by Ben Depoorter, Peter Menell and David Schwartz

Both law and economics and intellectual property law have expanded dramatically in tandem over recent decades. This field-defining two-volume Handbook, featuring the leading legal, empirical, and law and economics scholars studying intellectual property rights, provides wide-ranging and in-depth analysis both of the economic theory underpinning intellectual property law, and the use of analytical methods to study it.
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Chapter 20: Patents and innovation in economic history

Petra Moser


Innovation is a major source of improvements in human welfare, and patent laws are intended to stimulate innovation. Yet the effects of patent laws on innovation are theoretically ambiguous. Strong patents that encourage pioneer inventors may discourage future innovators by reducing the pay-offs from their work. Economic history offers a wealth of empirical settings to study the effects of patent laws. Recent improvements in empirical methodology—through the creation of new data sets and advances in identification—have further improved the benefits of historical analyses. This chapter summarizes results from existing historical analyses of patent laws and highlights open questions.

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