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 26: Experiments in intellectual property

Christopher Buccafusco and Christopher Jon Sprigman


Perhaps more than any other area, intellectual property (IP) law is grounded in assumptions about how people behave. These assumptions involve how creators respond to incentives, how rights are licensed in markets, and how people decide whether to innovate or borrow from existing culture and technology. Until recently, there had been little effort to validate any of these assumptions. Fortunately, the last decade has witnessed significant interest in empirically testing IP law’s foundations. This chapter discusses the use of experimental and survey methods to understand how various features of copyright and patent law affect behavior. These methods allow researchers to ask and answer questions that are not generally possible with other empirical strategies. We first discuss some of the advantages of using experimental research. Then we highlight some of the findings that this research has produced thus far. Finally, we explore a variety of methodological issues that experimental researchers face.

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