Job Market Paper Trade of Differentiated Products Under Intellectual Property Piracy


Conventional wisdom and theory have it that developing countries' intellectual property rights (IPRs) incentives differ substantially from those of developed countries, especially under technology imitation. This model explores a new channel by which IPRs may affect welfare such that cross-country incentives are aligned even in the short run: the composition of trade. I investigate whether and how IPRs and the threat of imitation may affect trade of differentiated products asymmetrically. Allowing for differing consumer preferences across products implies unique markups and demand elasticities for all differentiated goods. Because products are associated with different profit potential, firms make asymmetric export decisions when faced with the threat of imitation and its spillover effects into the home market. Cross-country incentives can be aligned as product imitators trade off gains from lower prices with losses due to less access to inelastically demanded varieties. The primary predictions of the model find empirical support in the data, where it is shown that a greater proportion of inelastically demanded goods are exported to stronger relative to weaker IPR destinations.

Working Papers

  • US Firm Exports and Intellectual Property Rights
  • (joint with William F. Lincoln, SAIS, Johns Hopkins University)

  • Financial Stability and Inclusion in Sub-Saharan Africa (joint with Yibin Mu, IMF; draft available upon request)

    Invited Seminars and Visitation

    2013: International Monetary Fund, World Bank, FRB-Washington Trade Working Group

    2012: London School of Economics, University of Oxford, CESIfo (Munich), Universität Tübingen (Germany)


    All papers soon to enter submission process.