The Impacts of Post-TRIPS Patent Reforms on the Structure of Exports

Author Name Keith E. MASKUS  (University of Colorado) /Lei YANG  (Hong Kong Polytechnic University)
Creation Date/NO. April 2013 13-E-030
Research Project Economic Analysis of Technology in the Global Economy
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We study the effects of reforms in the legal scope of patent rights (PRs) on the international pattern of sectoral exports, before and after implementation of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement at the World Trade Organization (WTO), in a generalized factor-proportions framework. We find that, conditional on factor endowments and intensities, a country with stronger PRs tends to have greater exports to the United States in patent-intensive sectors. These effects are significantly positive throughout the sample but are considerably larger in the post-TRIPS era. These impacts grow over time in developing economies, roughly in line with the implementation of TRIPS obligations. There is also evidence that changes over time in national PRs positively affect growth in exports. These results hold after controlling for alternative determinants of international trade and correcting for endogeneity.