Monetary and Implicit Incentives of Patent Examiners
Patent examiners, who are often accused of granting questionable patents, might lack proper incentives to carefully scrutinize applications. Furthermore, they have outside options and leave the patent office. It is thus interesting to investigate whether their granting behavior is affected by career concerns. In a simple setting, we analyze different incentive schemes that reward examiners on the basis of rejected and/or accepted patents. We then study the effect of career concerns on the granting behavior of examiners. We find that a reward based on rejection gives more incentives to search for relevant information, and career concerns increase these incentives. Besides, the information provided by the applicant has an impact on the examiners incentive to search for information.
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