Intellectual Property Rights in a Quality-Ladder Model with Persistent Leadership

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This paper analyzes the effects of intellectual property rights in a quality-ladder model of endogenous growth in which incumbent firms preemptively innovate in order to keep their position of leadership. Unlike in models with leapfrogging, granting forward pro- tection, and imposing a non-obviousness requirement reduces growth. In the main case where entrants and incumbents have free access to the same R&D technology, infinite protection against imitation, granted independently of the size of the lead, maximizes growth. If entrants have to engage in costly catch up before they can undertake frontier R&D, growth is maximal for a finite (expected) length of protection against imitation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)194-213
Number of pages18
JournalEuropean Economic Review
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015


  • intellectual property rights
  • cumulative innovation
  • persistent leadership
  • forward protection
  • non-obviousness requirement

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