[Ip-health] historical evidence on patents and innovation

Aidan Hollis ahollis at ucalgary.ca
Mon Feb 16 10:13:34 PST 2015


I don’t recall seeing this article by Petra Moser being highlighted in ip-health. I thought that it might be of particular interest in the context of international trade negotiations as well as India’s current debate over patent laws.

https://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.27.1.23

A quick preview: 
"Overall, the weight of the existing historical evidence suggests that patent policies, which grant strong intellectual property rights to early generations of inventors, may discourage innovation. On the contrary, policies that encourage the diffusion of ideas and modify patent laws to facilitate entry and encourage competition may be an effective mechanism to encourage innovation. Carefully executed historical analyses can help to shed further light on these pressing issues of patent policy. "

I think that it is right to caution that the modern pharmaceutical industry faces different barriers to effective innovation (i.e. clinical trials) and tougher competition (i.e. automatic substitution for small-molecule products) than some of the historical examples cited in Moser’s article. It also charges higher prices…


Aidan Hollis
Professor of Economics
University of Calgary
ahollis at ucalgary.ca <mailto:ahollis at ucalgary.ca>
+1 403 220 5861

http://econ.ucalgary.ca/profiles/aidan-hollis <http://econ.ucalgary.ca/hollis.htm>

Incentives for Global Health
http://www.healthimpactfund.org <http://www.healthimpactfund.org/>



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