The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Intellectual Property

  • Michele Boldrin
  • David K. Levine
Reference work entry


Intellectual property refers to patents, copyrights, trademarks and other forms of ownership of ideas. It results in monopoly power that has significant consequences for discouraging as well as encouraging innovation and growth. The discouragement effect is especially important when ideas are used as building blocks for other ideas. The economics literature has examined the need for intellectual property; optimal systems of intellectual property; the optimal duration of intellectual property; how innovation takes place in the absence of intellectual property; and the rent-seeking behaviour induced by intellectual property.


Arrow, K. Copyright Dynamic vs static efficiency First-mover advantage Innovation, competitive Monopoly vs incentive to innovate No-compete contract clauses Non-disclosure agreements Patent law Patent races Patents Plant, A. Rent seeking Schumpeter, J. Shrink-wrap agreements Stigler, G. Trademarks Transaction costs 

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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michele Boldrin
    • 1
  • David K. Levine
    • 1
  1. 1.