The Political Economy of IP [7:08 pm]
Donna points to the American Enterprise Institute’s publication, The Political Economy of Intellectual Property by William Landes and Richard Posner, wherein public choice theory is applied, albeit not as a complete explanation of recent trends.
Whether the increases in the legal protection of intellectual property since 1976 have conferred net benefits on the U.S. economy is uncertain. But the political forces and ideological currents that we describe, abetted by interest-group pressures that favor originators of intellectual property over copiers, may explain the increases. An additional factor is the growth in the market for intellectual property. That growth cannot be dated to 1976; but there is no doubt that recent decades have seen a marked growth in that market, as the economies of the advanced nations shifted from “industrial” economies to “information” economies. That growth increased the potential economic rents from intellectual property rights and so may have increased the asymmetry of incentives that we have been stressing between supporters and opponents of expanded intellectual property rights.