BORIS Theses

BORIS Theses
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Intellectual Property Rights in Preferential Trade Agreements: Mapping the Content, Analysing the Design, Studying the Effects

Surbeck, Jenny (2019). Intellectual Property Rights in Preferential Trade Agreements: Mapping the Content, Analysing the Design, Studying the Effects. (Thesis). Universität Bern, Bern

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This doctoral thesis discusses the theory behind IPRs in PTAs and finds that there exist ambiguous rationales. Whilst some argue for more stringent regulation of IPRs through PTAs, others oppose it. Both rationales are based on the assumption that their approach is most beneficial for a countries’ economy, growth and welfare. To test which rationales prevail beyond the theoretical debate, this thesis follows three research questions: what countries do, why they do it and if their decisions matter. Therefore, I map the content of IPRs in PTAs, analyses their design and its variations, as well as study their effects. To map the content of IPRs in PTAs, I compiled a systematic and comprehensive dataset on IPRs in PTAs, that covers 86 IPR variables for 724 PTAs. Additionally, I created a T+PTA dataset in collaboration with Morin (Morin and Surbeck 2019), which includes 90 variables on TRIPS-plus provisions in PTAs. The datasets allow mapping the IPR content of PTAs across time and regions. The descriptive statistics demonstrate that there are different strategies when it comes to regulating IPRs through PTAs. While some countries seem to have a consistent strategy, others show an immense variation of IPRs depending on the PTA. In order to better understand why there is such variation intra- and inter-countries, I focus on the design of IPRs in PTAs. For the analysis of the design of IPRs in PTAs, I look at the explanatory factors of economic power asymmetry, domestic interests, political pressure, veto players, endogeneity effect of PTAs, regime preference, and path dependency. I find that all of the explanatory factors have a significant effect on the IPR design, yet the most distinct effect can be observed for economic power asymmetry and domestic interests. The direction of the relationship varies depending on the design feature. This suggests that countries act based on their interest and apply the rationale of IPRs only selectively. Furthermore, I examine if the design of IPRs in PTAs matters and leads to observable effects. The effects are analysed by looking at the legal-institutional effects as well as the economic effects. For the analysis of the legal-institutional effects, I look at the effect that precision and delegation have on implementation, compliance and effectiveness. The analysis shows that the effect of the IPR multilateral coherence commitments in PTAs operationalised through precision and delegation have a marginal negative effect on the implementation of the PTA, and significantly positive effects for both the compliance, as well as effectiveness. The design of IPRs in PTAs thus impacts the domestic accession to IPR multilateral agreements. The economic effects analysis explores if the design of IPRs in PTAs matters. To this end, I focus on five factors derived from the rationale of IPRs, namely investment in R&D, FDI and licensing, innovation, technology transfer, and growth. Theory suggests a positive effect of IPRs on these factors, yet the regression analysis shows that the effects are predominately significantly negative, especially for stringent IPR provisions. The only consistently positive effects can be observed for TRIPS-plus enforcement provisions on the investment in R&D and specific IPR provisions on technology transfer. For the most commonly analysed factor FDI, my analysis shows no significant effects. As previous research has shown that the effects of IPRs vary according to the development level of countries, I additionally check the results of the economic effects for low-income, lower-middle-income, upper-middle-income and high-income countries. Hereby, the results show some variation according to the development level of countries, yet no clear division across income levels. However, the number of significant results suggest that high-income countries are affected the most by IPRs in PTAs.

Item Type: Thesis
Dissertation Type: Single
Date of Defense: 31 October 2019
Subjects: 300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 320 Political science
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 340 Law
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 380 Commerce, communications & transportation
Institute / Center: 02 Faculty of Law > Department of Economic Law > World Trade Institute
10 Strategic Research Centers > World Trade Institute
03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Institute of Political Science
Depositing User: Hammer Igor
Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2019 11:12
Last Modified: 21 Nov 2019 16:03

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