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Abstract

This paper examines the effect of foreign intellectual property right (IPR) systems and the policies that comprise them on U.S. exports of biotechnology related agricultural input industries. Policy components include the extent of patent coverage across industry sectors, enforcement mechanisms, provisions for loss of patent protection, memberships to other international patent agreements, and duration of patent protection. Extending the empirical and theoretical work of Smith (2002), this paper uses a gravity model to analyze how IPRs affect the market power and market expansion effects of exports to countries with differing abilities to imitate technology. The findings suggest that strengthening global IPRs grant a market power effect to U.S. exporters; strong IPRs reduce U.S. exports by awarding a temporary monopoly over the protected good. However, the analysis of the individual policy components of an IPR system reveal which components inhibit trade through market power effects and which components counterbalance it through market expansion effects, increasing the flow of trade and access to biotechnology related agricultural inputs.

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