Journal Article | Journal of International Economics | January 2011

Does Intellectual Property Rights Reform Spur Industrial Development?

by Lee G. Branstetter, Ray Fisman, C. Fritz Foley and Kamal Saggi


An extensive theoretical literature generates ambiguous predictions concerning the effects of intellectual property rights (IPR) reform on industrial development. The impact depends on whether multinational enterprises (MNEs) expand production in reforming countries and the extent of decline in imitative activity. We examine the responses of U.S.-based MNEs and domestic industrial production to a set of IPR reforms in the 1980s and 1990s. Following reform, MNEs expand the scale of their activities. MNEs that make extensive use of intellectual property disproportionately increase their use of inputs. There is an overall expansion of industrial activity after reform, and highly disaggregated trade data indicate higher exports of new goods. These results suggest that the expansion of multinational activity more than offsets any decline in imitative activity.

Keywords: Development Economics; Foreign Direct Investment; Multinational Firms and Management; Governing Rules, Regulations, and Reforms; Intellectual Property; Rights; Production; Expansion; United States;


Branstetter, Lee G., Ray Fisman, C. Fritz Foley, and Kamal Saggi. "Does Intellectual Property Rights Reform Spur Industrial Development?" Journal of International Economics 83, no. 1 (January 2011): 27–36.