Monday, October 13, 2014

Nobel Laureate Jean Tirole's Contributions to the Economics of Intellectual Property

I was delighted to hear this morning that French economist Jean Tirole had been awarded the 2014 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel.  Professor Tirole's contributions to the economics of industrial organization are many and varied.  They include several works on the economics of patents, including a recent paper that he coauthored with Josh Lerner titled Standard-Essential Patents, NBER Working Paper 19664, that I mentioned on this blog earlier this year (here).  Norman Siebrasse and I had thought about blogging about the paper at some point--we thought, in Professor Siebrasse's words, that Lerner and Tirole may have been too pessimistic about the ability of the FRAND requirement to constrain ex post market power, and too optimistic about the feasibility of ex ante commitments in the form of price caps--but be that as it may, Professor Tirole's work is innovative and rigorous, and the paper deserves wide attention.  As noted by the Economic Sciences Prize Committee of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in their 52-page summary of Professor Tirole's work (available here), Professor Tirole has also written on, among other topics, the subject of patent races in an influential article with Drew Fudenberg, Richard Gilbert, and Joseph Stiglitz (which I've cited in my work), and on patent pools.  The Nobel Committee also cites his work on the economics of open-source software, network competition and two-sided markets, and many other subjects.

Anyway, congratulations to a very deserving winner.   

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