Economic Research Working Papers

The WIPO Economic Research Working Paper Series includes economic and statistical studies that are the outcome of professional research. Such research may be conducted in preparation of WIPO reports or as part of self-standing analytical projects.

The papers included in this Series typically report on research in progress and are circulated in a timely manner for discussion and comment. The views expressed in them are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of WIPO or its member states.


R&D, Scale Effects and Spillovers: New Insights from Emerging Countries
Economic Research Working Paper No. 32

Author(s): Kul B. Luintel, Mosahid Khan; Publication year: 2016

There has been a concomitant rise in R&D and the rate of economic growth in emerging countries. Analyzing a panel of 31 emerging countries, we find convincing evidence of scale effects which make government policies potent for long-run growth. This contrasts sharply with the well-known findings of Jones (1995a). Innovations show increasing returns to knowledge stock, implying that the diminishing returns assumed by some semi-endogenous growth models might not be generalized. International R&D spillovers raise the innovation bar. The observed growth rates of emerging economies appear in transition therefore their growth rates may recede with the passage of time.


Measuring Creativity: Learning from Innovation Measurement
Economic Research Working Paper No. 31

Author(s): Intan Hamdan-Livramento, Julio Raffo, Stéphane Lhuillery; Publication year: 2016

There is a growing interest in broadening the measurement scope of innovation and considering “creative” activities, meaning that the usual indicators of innovation satisfy neither scholars nor policy makers. Conceptually, there is not much difference between innovative and creative activity: but to what extent are current measures that capture innovation relevant for creativity? Can the new measures for creativity benefit from the experience accumulated through R&D and innovation? Our article provides insights and lessons learned from using measures of innovative activities for scholars who are interested in capturing creative activities. We underscore the difficulties faced when measuring innovation and draw some parallels of these difficulties with the efforts undertaken to measure creativity.


Breakthrough technologies – Robotics, innovation and intellectual property
Economic Research Working Paper No. 30

Author(s): C. Andrew Keisner, Julio Raffo, Sacha Wunsch-Vincent; Publication year: 2015

Robotics technology and the increasing sophistication of artificial intelligence are breakthrough innovations with significant growth prospects and the potential to disrupt existing economic and social facets of everyday life. Few studies have analyzed the developments of robotics innovation. This paper closes this gap by analyzing how innovation in robotics is taking place, how it diffuses, and what role intellectual property plays.


Economic growth and breakthrough innovations: A case study of nanotechnology
Economic Research Working Paper No. 29

Author(s): Lisa Larrimore Ouellette; Publication year: 2015

This paper examines the role of intellectual property and other innovation incentives in the development of one field of breakthrough innovation: nanotechnology. Because nanotechnology is an enabling technology across a wide range of fields, the nanotechnology innovation ecosystem appears to be a microcosm of the global innovation ecosystem. Part I describes the nature of nanotechnology and its economic contribution, Part II explores the nanotechnology innovation ecosystem, and Part III focuses on the role of IP systems in the development of nanotechnology.


3D printing and the intellectual property system
Economic Research Working Paper No. 28

Author(s): Stefan Bechtold; Publication year: 2015

Three-dimensional (3D) printing – or “additive manufacturing” – technologies differ from traditional molding and casting manufacturing processes in that they build 3D objects by successively creating layers of material on top of each other. Rooted in manufacturing research of the 1980s, 3D printing has evolved into a broad set of technologies that could fundamentally alter production processes in a wide set of technology areas. This report investigates, from the perspective of an intellectual property scholar, how 3D printing technology has developed over the last few decades, how intellectual property rights have shaped this breakthrough innovation and how 3D printing technologies could challenge the intellectual property rights system in the future.


Breakthrough technologies – Semiconductor, innovation and intellectual property
Economic Research Working Paper No. 27

Author(s): Francesca Guadagno, Sacha Wunsch-Vincent, Thomas Hoeren; Publication year: 2015

Semiconductor technology is at the origin of today’s digital economy. Its contribution to innovation, productivity and economic growth in the past four decades has been extensive. This paper analyzes how this breakthrough technology came about, how it diffused, and what role intellectual property played historically.


Intellectual property rights and pharmaceuticals: The case of antibiotics
Economic Research Working Paper No. 26

Author(s): Bhaven N. Sampat; Publication year: 2015

The development and diffusion of antibiotics contributed to large improvements in human health and living standards. The antibiotic revolution also spawned the modern pharmaceutical industry. This paper reviews the development of the early antibiotics, and the roles of intellectual property rights (in particular, patents) in their development and diffusion.


Breakthrough innovations in aircraft and the intellectual property system, 1900-1975
Economic Research Working Paper No. 25

Author(s): David C. Mowery; Publication year: 2015

Modern commercial aircraft are complex products that incorporate innovations in technologies ranging from advanced materials to software and electronics. Although commercial aircraft assuredly qualify as a transformative innovation, in fact today’s commercial aircraft are the result of a process of incremental innovation and improvement that dates back more than a century. A great many of these improvements and incremental innovations originated from government-supported R&D programs sponsored by the military services or government research laboratories. The adoption of commercial-aircraft innovations within many industrial economies, including the United States, also has been influenced by government regulation of air transportation. This paper provides a historical characterization of the innovation and record of technical progress in US commercial aircraft during the 1900-1975 period. It identifies the sources of support for innovation and technological adoption, and examines the origins and impacts of “breakthrough innovations” on the overall evolution of the global commercial aircraft industry. The paper also assesses the role of patents in these important innovations.


Sources of Biopharmaceutical Innovation: An Assessment of Intellectual Property
Economic Research Working Paper No. 24

Author(s): Michael S. Kinch, Julio Raffo; Publication year: 2015

An analysis of new, FDA-approved molecular entities reveals dynamism in terms of new innovation. An assessment of the first patent for each drug reveals that the pharmaceutical industry, particularly large, established companies in North America, tend to dominate the field. Whereas inventors continue to found biotechnology companies at a steady rate, recent trends suggest these inventors more often come from the private sector.


The Use of Intellectual Property in Brazil
Economic Research Working Paper No. 23

Author(s): Vivian Barcelos, Marina Filgueiras Jorge, Bruno Le Feuvre, Felipe Lopes, Sergio Medeiros Paulino de Carvalho, Vera Pinheiro, Julio Raffo, Leonardo Ribeiro; Publication year: 2014

This study describes patterns and trends of intellectual property use in Brazil, drawing on a new statistical database (BADEPI).


Trademarks Squatters: Evidence from Chile
Economic Research Working Paper No. 22

Author(s): Carsten Fink, Christian Helmers, Carlos Ponce; Publication year: 2014

This paper explores the phenomenon of “trademark squatting” – a situation in which someone other than the original brand owner obtains a trademark on a brand. The authors develop a model that shows how squatting results from market uncertainty that leads brand owners to rationally forgo registering trademarks, creating opportunities for squatting. They create an algorithm to identify squatters in the Chilean trademark register and show empirically that squatting is a persistent and systematic phenomenon. Using data on trademark oppositions, the authors find that squatting leads brand owners that have been exposed to squatting to “over-protect” their brands by registering disproportionately many trademarks and covering classes other than those directly related to their products and services. Trademark squatting, therefore, creates a strategic, albeit excessive, response by brand owners which inflates trademark filings.


Defining and Measuring the “Market for Brands”: Are Emerging Economies Catching Up?
Economic Research Working Paper No. 21

Author(s): Carl Benedikt Frey, Atif Ansar, Sacha Wunsch-Vincent; Publication year: 2014

Markets for brands, as defined in this paper, play an important but underappreciated economic role in today’s global economy. The ability to use Market for Brands allows companies to diversify their business; access competences; and generate new revenues without substantial investments. This paper defines and provides a taxonomy for different brand markets then analyzes the economic rationale of such markets. It also assesses the relative importance of the different brand-related transaction types in developed and emerging economies alike.


International Patenting Strategies of Chinese Residents: An Analysis of Foreign-Oriented Patent Families
Economic Research Working Paper No. 20

Author(s): Mila Kashcheeva, Sacha Wunsch-Vincent, Hao Zhou; Publication year: 2014

This paper analyzes Chinese patenting abroad by using WIPO’s foreign-oriented patent family dataset and a respective enterprise questionnaire. It finds that by the turn of the century China emerged as major actor in terms of international patenting. While this is changing rapidly, the share of Chinese patents which get filed abroad is still a fraction of total patents filed at home and most patents still also only target one foreign IP office. Chinese foreign-oriented patent families are concentrated in a few technology fields, and a few Chinese firms are responsible for a large share of total Chinese patents filed abroad.


The Emergence of An Educational Tool Industry: Opportunities and Challenges for Innovation in Education
Economic Research Working Paper No. 19

Author(s): Dominique Foray, Julio Raffo; Publication year: 2014

This paper describes the emergence of a population of firms specialized in developing and commercializing educational tools and instructional technologies, and discusses whether this trend can be seen as part of the solution to the innovation deficit and cost disease problems in this sector.


The Egyptian Information Technology Sector and the Role of Intellectual Property: Economic Assessment and Recommendations
Economic Research Working Paper No. 18

Author(s): Knut Blind, Tim Pohlmann, Florian Ramel, Sacha Wunsch-Vincent; Publication year: 2014

This paper discusses the state of innovation in the Egyptian information technology sector (IT) and seeks to identify the current and potential role of intellectual property (IP) for this sector as well as the links between IP and innovation and foreign direct investment. The paper proposes IP-related policies which could contribute to promoting domestic innovation.


Inventor Data for Research on Migration and Innovation: A Survey and a Pilot
Economic Research Working Paper No. 17

Author(s): Stefano Breschi, Francesco Lissoni, Gianluca Tarasconi; Publication year: 2014

This paper discusses the existing literature on migration and innovation, with special emphasis on empirical studies based on patent and inventor data. Other sources of micro-data are examined, too, for comparative purposes. A pilot database, based on patent filings at the European Patent Office is presented. It contains information on individual inventors, including their country of residence and of origin. Preliminary evidence suggests that immigrant inventors contribute to innovation not only in the United States, but also in selected European countries, where they often rank among the most productive individuals.


U.S. High-Skilled Immigration, Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Empirical Approaches and Evidence
Economic Research Working Paper No. 16

Author(s): William R. Kerr; Publication year: 2014

High-skilled immigrants are a very important component of U.S. innovation and entrepreneurship. Studies regarding the impact of immigrants on natives tend to find limited consequences in the short-run, while the results in the long-run are more varied and much less certain. Immigrants in the United States aid business and technology exchanges with their home countries, but the overall effect that the migration has on the home country remains unclear. Little is known about return migration of workers engaged in innovation and entrepreneurship, except that it is rapidly growing in importance.


Diaspora Networks, Knowledge Flows and Brain Drain
Economic Research Working Paper No. 15

Author(s): Ajay Agrawal; Publication year: 2014

The paper summarizes key findings from the literature on how distance, relationships and ethnic ties influence knowledge flows, and describes a model that relates emigration and the diaspora to knowledge flows. It recaps a key study that reports evidence of a link from the diaspora and knowledge flows to home country manufacturing productivity. The study summarizes the ways in which intellectual property (IP) protection may influence knowledge flow patterns through incentives (market for ideas) and disincentives (anticommons). Finally, it speculates on how diaspora knowledge flows and IP may alleviate developing country low-productivity equilibria (“poverty traps”) caused by an underinvestment in specialized human capital.


An "Algorithmic Links with Probabilities" Concordance for Trademarks For Disaggregated Analysis of Trademark and Economic Data
Economic Research Working Paper No. 14

Author(s): Travis J. Lybbert, Nikolas J. Zolas, Prantik Bhattacharyya; Publication year: 2014

The authors propose an ‘Algorithmic Links with Probabilities’ (ALP) approach to match Trademarks (TMs) data to economic data and enable these data to speak to each other. Specifically, they construct a NICE Class Level concordance that maps TM data into trade and industry categories forward and backward. This concordance allows researchers to analyze differences in TM usage across both economic and TM sectors. In this paper, the authors apply this ALP concordance for TMs to characterize patterns in TM applications across countries, industries, income levels and more. They also use the concordance to investigate some of the key determinants of international technology transfer by comparing bilateral TM applications and bilateral patent applications.


Brands as Productive Assets: Concepts, Measurement, and Global Trends
Economic Research Working Paper No. 13

Author(s): Carol A. Corrado, Janet X. Hao; Publication year: 2014

The paper looks at brands from an economic point of view. It defines concepts; analyzes the conditions under which brands are long-lived productive assets and contribute to economic growth; and reviews the measurement of investment in brands. It finds that a productive role for brands is consistent with assumptions used in the economic analysis of innovation. Finally it offers an analysis of economic development that suggests branding rises with growth.


Exploring the Worldwide Patent Surge
Economic Research Working Paper No. 12

Author(s): Carsten Fink, Mosahid Khan, Hao Zhou; Publication year: 2013

This paper provides an analysis of global patenting trends using the most comprehensive data currently available. Among other things, it finds that subsequent patent filings – additional filings of the same invention, mostly in additional countries – contributed considerably to the growth in filings worldwide, pointing to globalization as one important driver of filing growth. However, no single factor can fully explain the marked increase in the use of the patent system.


The Use of Intellectual Property in Chile
Economic Research Working paper 11

Author(s): María José Abud, Carsten Fink, Bronwyn Hall, Christian Helmers; Publication year: 2013

This study describes patterns and trends of intellectual property (IP) use in Chile, drawing on a new database containing all patent, trademark, utility model, and design filings received by the Chilean IP office over the period 1991-2010. Among other things, the study offers insights into the drivers of filing growth, the origin of filings, the distribution of applicants, the importance of different applicant types, the share of filings by different economic sectors, the relevance of IP bundles, and the patenting behavior of Chilean applicants overseas.


The Informal Economy, Innovation and Intellectual Property: Concepts, Metrics and Policy Considerations
Economic Research Working Paper No. 10

Author(s): Jeremy de Beer, Kun Fu, Sacha Wunsch-Vincent; Publication year: 2013

The authors connect concepts, definitions and data regarding the informal economy, innovation, and intellectual property in order to establish a framework for further qualitative and quantitative research and the improvement of public policies in respect of these issues.


The Economics of Copyright and the Internet: Moving to an Empirical Assessment Relevant in the Digital Era
Economic Research Working Paper No. 9

Author(s): Sacha Wunsch-Vincent; Publication year: 2013

Technology and the Internet have triggered important changes to how creative works are created and accessed, and how creators and copyright-based industries generate their revenues. The authors reassess the economics of copyright in the light of these changes. After providing an introduction to the economics of copyright, they analyze the changes to the baseline copyright model triggered by the new technological landscape. Then, they assess the empirical economic work on copyright so far, and suggest future avenues of research and related data needs.


Measuring the International Mobility of Inventors: A New Database
Economic Research Working Paper No.8

Author(s): Carsten Fink, Ernest Miguelez; Publication year: 2013

This paper has two objectives. First, it describes a new database mapping migratory patterns of inventors, extracted from information included in patent applications filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty. It explains in detail the information contained in the database and discusses the usefulness and reliability of the underlying data. Second, the paper provides a descriptive overview of inventor migration patterns, based on the information contained in the newly constructed database.


How Does Geographical Mobility of Inventors Influence Network Formation?
Economic Research Working Paper No. 7

Author(s): Ernest Miguelez; Publication year: 2013

The goal of this paper is to assess the influence of spatial mobility of knowledge workers on the formation of ties of scientific and industrial collaboration across European regions. Co-location has been traditionally invoked to ease formal collaboration between individuals and firms, since tie formation costs increase with physical distance between partners. In some instances, highly-skilled actors might become mobile and bridge regional networks across separate locations. This paper estimates a fixed effects logit model to ascertain precisely whether there exists a ‘previous co-location premium’ in the formation of networks across European regions.


What Makes Companies Pursue an Open Science Strategy?
Economic Research Working Paper No. 6

Author(s): Markus Simeth, Julio Raffo; Publication year: 2013

This paper explores the motivations of firms that disclose research outcomes in a scientific format. Besides considering an internal firm dimension, the authors focus particularly on knowledge sourcing from academic institutions and the appropriability regime using a cost-benefit framework. The analysis provides evidence that the access to important scientific knowledge imposes the adoption of academic disclosure principles, whereas the mere existence of collaborative links with academic institutions is not a strong predictor. Furthermore, the results suggest that overall industry conditions are influential in shaping the cost-benefit rationale of firms with respect to scientific disclosure.


Getting Patents and Economic Data to Speak to Each Other: An “Algorithmic Links with Probabilities” Approach for Joint Analyses of Patenting and Economic Activity
Economic Research Working Paper No. 5

Author(s): Travis J. Lybbert, Nikolas J. Zolas; Publication year: 2012

In this paper, the authors describe and explore a new algorithmic approach to constructing concordances between the International Patent Classification (IPC) system and industry classification systems that organize economic data. This ‘Algorithmic Links with Probabilities’ (ALP) approach incorporates text analysis software and keyword extraction programs and applies them to a comprehensive patent dataset. The authors conclude with a discussion on some of the possible applications of the concordance and provide a sample analysis that uses their preferred ALP concordance to analyze international patent flows based on trade patterns.


The State of Patenting at Research Institutions in Developing Countries: Policy Approaches and Practices
Economic Research Working Paper No. 4

Author(s): Pluvia Zuniga; Publication year: 2011

This study discusses the opportunities and challenges offered by patents to foster technology transfer from government funded research institutions in developing countries. It presents a review of policy frameworks and recent policy changes aimed to foster academic patenting and technology transfer in low- and middle-income countries. It then analyzes patenting activities by universities and public research organizations and compares these trends with respect to high-income countries. This analysis is complemented with an assessment of the current state of patenting and technology commercialization practices in a selected group of technology transfer offices.


Disembodied Knowledge Flows in the World Economy
Economic Research Working Paper No. 3

Publication year: 2011

The authors outline the main trends in the growth of disembodied technology trade vis-a-vis international licensing and the trade in research and development and technical services. They show that there is considerable heterogeneity across countries in the form of technology trade that countries specialize in and also suggest these are related to underlying appropriability conditions and intellectual property rights regimes.


Basic, Applied and Experimental Knowledge and Productivity: Further Evidence
Economic Research Working Paper No. 2

Author(s): Mosahid Khan, Kul B. Luintel; Publication year: 2011

Analyzing a novel dataset, the authors find significantly positive effects of basic, and applied and experimental knowledge stocks on domestic output and productivity for a panel of 10 OECD countries. This updates the work of, among others, Mansfield (1980), Griliches (1986) and Adams (1990), at an international setting.


How Robust is the R&D - Productivity Relationship? Evidence from OECD Countries
Economic Research Working Paper No. 1

Author(s): Mosahid Khan, Kul B. Luintel, Konstantinos Theodoris; Publication year: 2011

The authors examine the robustness of research and development (R&D) and productivity relationship in a panel of 16 OECD countries. They control for fifteen productivity determinants predicted by different theoretical models. R&D and human capital emerge robust in all specifications making them universal drivers of productivity across nations. Most other determinants are also significant. Productivity relationships are heterogonous across countries depending on their accumulated stocks of knowledge and human capital.


WIPO Survey on Patenting Strategies in 2009 and 2010 - Final report

Publication year: 2011

To better understand how users of the PCT System responded to the difficult economic conditions in 2009 and how they may respond to the incipient economic recovery in 2010.


The Economics of Intellectual Property. Suggestions for Further Research in Developing Countries and Countries with Economies in Transition

Publication year: 2009

The series of papers in this publication were commissioned from renowned international economists from all regions. They review the existing empirical literature on six selected themes relating to the economics of intellectual property, identify the key research questions, point out research gaps and explore possible avenues for future research.