Mandel, Olson and Fast (2019)
|Mandel, Olson and Fast (2019)|
|Title:||Debunking Intellectual Property Myths: Cross-Cultural Experiments on Perceptions of Property|
|Author(s):||Gregory N. Mandel, Kristina Olson, Anne Fast|
|Citation:||Mandel, G.N., Olson, K. & Fast, A. (2019) Debunking Intellectual Property Myths: Cross-Cultural Experiments on Perceptions of Property. Temple University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2019-19|
|Key Related Studies:|
|About the Data|
|Data Description:||The study consists of two surveys:
• The first experiment acts as a pilot study, and consists of a survey of white American, East Asian American and East Asian international students from American colleges (totalling 198 participants).
• The second survey was issued to 101 white American college students from an American college and 102 Chinese college students from a Chinese college.
Both surveys were designed to test differences in American and Chinese beliefs about the appropriateness of various types of property protection.
|Data Type:||Primary data|
|Secondary Data Sources:|
|Data Collection Methods:|
|Data Analysis Methods:|
|Cross Country Study?:||No|
|Government or policy study?:||No|
|Time Period(s) of Collection:|
“For decades the prevailing view in the United States and many Western countries has been that China does not appropriately respect intellectual property rights. These beliefs lie at the heart of President Donald Trump’s current trade war with China. Despite substantial geopolitical debate over differences between American and Chinese attitudes towards intellectual property rights, and despite the critical effects that such attitudes have on international economic markets and the function of the intellectual property system, empirical evidence of these attitudes is largely lacking. This Article presents original survey and experimental research that explores cross-cultural differences between American and Chinese attitudes towards intellectual property rights, personal property rights, and real property rights.
The results of the studies are somewhat counter-intuitive. First, Chinese participants are found to have more consistent preferences towards different types of property rights than Americans. In a series of vignettes designed to test attitudes towards patented subject matter, copyrighted subject matter, tangible personal property, and real property, Chinese responses were more consistent and less context driven. Second, Americans do identify a preference for stronger intellectual property rights than Chinese, but only where infringement is committed by a private party for private benefit. Where infringement is conducted for public benefit, whether by a private or a governmental entity, Chinese and Americans tend to have the same attitudes towards intellectual property rights. Third, Americans display a lower regard for intellectual property rights than for tangible property rights in most contexts, a differential that is not echoed in Chinese responses. The distinctions that Americans draw based on the use to which property is put, and between intellectual property and tangible property, is not consistent with the law.
Our experiments reveal that the ongoing debates over Chinese attitudes towards intellectual property rights miss the mark in certain regards. Chinese and American preferences for property rights are more similar than most have assumed, and the manners in which they differ are inconsistent with most proffered theories. These results provide important lessons for the future of international intellectual property rights relations, discourse, and enforcement.”
Main Results of the Study
The American preference for stronger property rights is context specific, and is more likely to be slackened where property is used for public purpose rather than private (a position inconsistent with US law). In this respect, this perspective does not differ greatly from the Chinese perspective, which holds similar views where property is to be used for public benefit.
Chinese respondents are more consistent in their perceptions of property than Americans, whether personal, real or intellectual property. The study suggests this may be due to a strong history of property redistribution and removal of distinctions between public and private property rights.
In the copyright context, this results in Americans being more likely to value personal real property over copyright, and consequently view the sale of 50 physical textbooks as quite different from the action of scanning and selling access to them. Even where financial loss to the rights holder is the same, Americans view the loss of personal property as less acceptable than the loss of intellectual property. Conversely, Chinese respondents view these two scenarios as similar, with no meaningful distinction between them. As such, the study suggests that the idea of Chinese exceptionalism is less an issue of an attitude towards intellectual property, and more an issue of attitude towards property in general.
Policy Implications as Stated By Author
The study does not offer any explicit policy recommendations.