Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series in Economics and Institutions of Innovation,
Royal Institute of Technology, CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies

No 231: COORDINATING INVENTIVE AND INNOVATIVE DECISIONS THROUGH MARKETS WITH PRICES: A Experimental Study of Patent Markets with Transparent Prices

Eskil Ullberg ()
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Eskil Ullberg: CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies, Royal Institute of Technology, Postal: CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies, Royal Institute of Technology, SE-100 44 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: The patent system makes organized markets in patents with transparent prices possible. Such prices are here investigated as “signals” for inventors and innovators alike ofv aluable “technology areas”, in an experimental study. They inform decisions of specialized “firms” on allocation of resources for invention given a search space of induced technology values. The traditional hierarchical model of coordinating invention and innovation in a vertically integrated firm is replaced by coordination of these activities among specialized firms through a market with prices. The experimental study builds on a study focusing on price mechanisms with exogenous technology values to a study of an economic environment with “endogenous” technology values. The results suggest that coordination clearly takes place but differs considerably between the institutions and patent validity tested (a 3 x 2 design). As with the price study, demand-side bidding in both dimensions of the linear contract appears to yield the broadest search scope, and thus the best chances for the allocation of resources for invention. Multiple end-states are observed, especially for institutions with less demand-side bidding, indicating imprecise price signals for institutions similar to today’s personal exchange. Coordination with prices appears to increase the dynamic gains of the patent system through price information to reduce or better inform about the risk in investments in new technology.

Keywords: patents; intellectual property; trade; licensing; experiments

JEL-codes: D02; D23; L14; L24; O32; O34

21 pages, August 25, 2010

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