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1998 Documento de Trabajo #39

Weak Property Rights and hold-up in R&D.

We study how the sequence of financing of R&D finance varies according to the ease with which property rights over knowledge can be defined. There are two financiers, a venture capitalist and a corporation. The knowledge acquired in costly research becomes embodied in the researcher’s human capital, and it may hold up the financier and walk away with the project to develop it elsewhere.The main results are: (a) When property rights are strong, research is always funded by the VC; development is performed e¢ciently; and breakaways from the VC to the corporation are observed in equilibrium. (b) When property rights are weak, projects may be financed by the VC or the corporation, or may remain unfunded. (c) When property rights are weak no breakaways occur in equilibrium; local spillovers and strong product market competition increase the likelihood that research projects will get funding. (d) The equilibrium sequence of R&D finance need not be first-best efficient. (e) In equilibrium, and controlling for the strength of property rights, VCs finance projects that are more profitable on average.

Bharant N. Anand
Alexander Galetovic

Publicado en: Journal of Economics and Management Strategy, Vol. 9, 615-642, Invierno 2000.