William A. Masters
Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University; The Earth Institute, Columbia University
This paper identifies market failures that limit biotechnology research for farmers in low-income regions and proposes a sys- tem of cash prizes to reward the dissemination of successful innovations. The prize authority would specify a target region (e.g., Sub-Saharan Africa) and offer to pay a fixed proportion (e.g., 20%) of the estimated social value of any innovation, com- puted using standard procedures, to buy out the innovation into the public domain. A governance structure to ensure credibility and financial sustainability is proposed.
Key words: Intellectual property, biotechnology, incentives for research, private provision of public goods.