Environmental Economics and Policy Studies

, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 759–784 | Cite as

Intellectual property rights protection in the presence of exhaustible resources

  • Takeo Hori
  • Hiroaki Yamagami
Research Article


We study the role of intellectual property rights (IPR) protection in the presence of exhaustible resources. Because resource scarcity is a constraint on growth, one may conjecture that IPR protection should be strong to stimulate research and development activities and to sustain perpetual growth. However, we show that IPR protection does not always need to be strengthened as the economy becomes more resource intensive. Furthermore, we derive the welfare-maximizing strength of IPR protection, and show that it increases in the presence of exhaustible resources. Therefore, our results suggest that ignoring exhaustible resources may result in inefficient innovation policies.


Endogenous growth Exhaustible resource Innovation Intellectual property rights protection Patent breadth 

JEL Classification

O3 Q3 



We thank Toshi Arimura, Isamu Matsukawa, Andreas Schaefer, the participants at EEA-ESEM2014, EAERE2016, and the seminars held at Musashi University and Sophia University and an anonymous referee for their comments and suggestions. We also appreciate the research grants from Seikei University and JSPS (Grant Number: 15K17055). All remaining errors are ours


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Copyright information

© Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies and Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Industrial Engineering and Economics, School of EngineeringTokyo Institute of TechnologyTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Faculty of EconomicsSeikei UniversityTokyoJapan
  3. 3.Maison des Sciences EconomiquesUniversité Paris 1 Panthéon-SorbonneParisFrance

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