Monday, August 17, 2015

21st August 2015: The natural resource curse revisited: theory and evidence from India

Amrita Dhillon
Kings College London

In this paper, we examine the relationship between natural resource rents and governance. We take advantage of a particular political and administrative re-structuring of state government in India. In 2000, three of the largest and poorest states in India (Madhya Pradesh (M.P.), Uttar Pradesh (U.P.) and Bihar) were each divided into two: the boundaries of the new states happened to coincide with the geographical boundaries of the natural resources (mines in the case of M.P and Bihar, forests in the case of U.P.). We investigate whether the break-up of states, which left rump states without access to natural resources, affected governance, incomes and inequality, with a combination of theory and empirical analysis, using extant survey data from India and data on luminosity, a useful proxy for incomes and activity across villages and districts in India.

Date: August 21, 2014
Time: 11:30 A.M.

Seminar Room 2
Indian Statistical Institute Delhi Centre,
7, S. J. S. Sansanwal Marg,
New Delhi-110016 (INDIA)


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Thursday, August 13, 2015

19 August 2015: Why Economists Need to Take an Interest in Patent Policy

Hazel Moir
Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University

Where large lumpy investments are combined with a relatively fast ability to imitate an invention, the market for invention may fail and useful new inventions will not attract the requisite investment. This perspective on the rationale for patents particularly characterises the pharmaceutical industry.

Efficient and effective patent policy is that which most closely approximates two conditions:

(i) patents are granted only for inventions which would not otherwise occur; and
(ii) patents are granted only where the social benefits (private plus spillover benefits) exceed the social cost of the monopoly grant.

Most economists pay little attention to the patent system, and when they do they often repeat the mantra that “patents are essential to induce innovation”.

This mantra is based on two critical assumptions – that copying knowledge developed by someone else is costless, and that copying is so fast that there is no natural first mover monopoly period. Substantial evidence exists to indicate that both presumptions are false.

A further assumption that economists tend to make about patent systems is that one cannot get a patent unless there is some inventiveness. Again the evidence demonstrates that this assumption is false. Decades of legal doctrine have changed the criteria for patent grant, such that now only a scintilla of inventiveness is required. Such a low requirement means that the second condition for efficient patent policy is breached. Most granted patents incorporate little if any new knowledge and so provide no spillover benefits. 

Date: August 19, 2015
Time: 03:00 P.M.

Seminar Room (First Floor)
Department of Economics,
Delhi School of Economics,
New Delhi-110007(INDIA)


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