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Scrabbling to explain innovation

Image: Stomchak [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Lab experiments—such as word games that mimic different intellectual property regimes—have a unique ability to test policies, says Paolo Crosetto.

Imagine a game of Scrabble. Players take turns, acquire letters, and form words. For each word they get points. After an hour or so, the board is criss-crossed by sometimes arcane and uncommon words, and the most creative anagram wizard has won.

Now imagine a tweak to the rules: whenever a player wishes to attach her word to another players’, she has to pay its creator a fee. Intellectual property rights have been introduced. What will happen?

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