Justifying IP—putting the horse before Descartes

Robert Merges writes for PrawfsBlawg, January 30, 2013

We do not know whether IP law is net social welfare positive. Yet many of us feel strongly that this body of law, this social and legal institution, has a place in a well-functioning society. Now, we can say the data are not all in yet, but we nevertheless should maintain our IP system on the hope that someday we will have adequate data to justify it.