Income Distribution in Intellectual Property Rights Protection Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Winston, Aisling
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Economics
  • This paper proposes a general model of the government's choice of intellectual property rights protection given the structure of the import market and the distribution of consumers' incomes. The model shows that the optimal level of protection chosen by the government, while most heavily influenced by institutional structures, differs depending on whether there is a competitive domestic fringe or a single domestic firm and on whether consumers' incomes are relatively equally or unequally distributed. Measures of de facto and de jure intellectual property rights protection are used to test the implications of the models. The model is then extended to include local governments in trying to explain the divergence between the formal level of protection and the reality of protection in different localities. Localities, in response to their constituents and their preferences for foreign actors, will choose to deviate from the federal level of protection, subject to the level of autonomy. The federal government will take the chosen deviations and international obligations into consideration when choosing the federal level of protection. These deviations are affected by the objective of domestic production: local consumption or export. Finally, the models are complemented by a country study of Jordan which examines more closely the effect of specific institutional structures in understanding one government's choice of protection. The pharmaceutical industry in Jordan provides a compelling case study, as it is dependent upon intellectual property rights protection. The level of protection increased markedly in 2000, following a distinct change in government policy in favor of foreign firms, moving Jordan from one of the worst to one of the best protectors of intellectual property rights protection in its region. The country study uses the model to explain the levels of protection before and after this change in Jordan as compared to protection in institutionally similar countries.
Date of publication
Resource type
Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Woodward, Kyle
  • Biglaiser, Gary
  • McKeown, Timothy
  • Alder, Simon
  • Yates, Andrew
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2018

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