Patents, Intellectual Property and the Rise of the Rent-Seeking Society

Alex Tabarrok

Patents, copyright, and other forms of intellectual property have extended in duration, scope, and power since inception. Do they still serve the purposes for which they were instituted – increasing progress in the sciences and useful arts? Is intellectual property necessary for innovation? Can IP hinder innovation? What are some of the alternatives to IP? In this presentation, Alex Tabarrok answers those questions by pointing out how this regulatory regime stifles innovation and offers suggestions for how to create a regulatory system that aims to correct these problems.

About the speaker

Alex holds the Bartley J. Madden Chair in Economics at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. Tabarrok’s research interests include empirical law and economics (crime, tort reform, bounty hunters, judicial electoral systems etc.), voting theory and alternative political institutions, health economics, and more. During COVID he was an advisor to the US government on using incentives to accelerate vaccine development and production. Working with Michael Kremer and other members of the Accelerating Health Technologies group, he helped to develop a model for the US government on allocating funds to a vaccine portfolio. He is the author with Tyler Cowen of the bestselling textbook, Modern Principles of Economics, and the co-founder with Tyler Cowen of Marginal Revolution University, an online platform for learning economics.

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