The Bartlett School of Planning


Xing Gao

Thesis Title: Intellectual Property Rights in Urban and regional economics: the case of Huaihai 

Primary supervisor:  Dr Jung Won Sonn

Secondary supervisor: Dr Tommaso Gabrieli

Regional economic growth is closely related to innovation. There are two reasons why innovation is important to regional development and why innovation at regional dimension is important to national innovation and development: the link between economic performance, innovation and growth, as well as the wide disparities of innovative activity at regional level. Some studies indicate that innovation can promote regional economic growth by international trade. For example, taking a Southern and a Northern region as examples and using dynamic and static model of trade, Fratesi  concludes that when the two regions are in the same structure, increasing the speed of innovation can lead to regional income disparities if the spillovers of knowledge are local. In addition, decentralization makes the relationship between innovation and regional economic growth closer. Abramovsky et al. indicates that some innovation policies are beneficial to all regions, like R&D tax credits. However, these policies will not have same effects across all regions in a same way, which can explain why national innovation takes the regions into consideration. For instance, regarding the tax credits, only some core regions with high R&D activities would benefit most from this tax measures, whereas disadvantaged regions would benefit least. Therefore, regional governments have a strong interest in formulating its own tax policy so as to promote innovation. In addition, some studies view patents or science and technology as a proxy of innovation to explore the effect of innovation on economic growth, which indicates that innovation is positively related to economic growth. However, there is no study taking intellectual property rights protection at regional level into account. Though some studies take patent as the proxy of intellectual property rights, these measurement are based on national level and does not involve in law or institutional enforcement.


“Optimal patent literature“ has found an inverted-U curve between intellectual property rights and innovation, and the conclusion has obtained much support of recent analysis. Moreover, an increase of innovation means the increase of intellectual property rights level. However, the existing studies have shown the different effects of intellectual property rights protection on developed countries and developing countries. For example, Schneider concludes that intellectual property rights are positively related to innovation of developed countries and have negative impact on developing countries. However, Allred and Park partially question this conclusion because they do not find any significant effect of intellectual property rights protection on innovation in developing countries. In addition to the relationships between intellectual property rights and innovation, some studies involve the direct relationships between intellectual property rights and economic growth. For instance, Chen and Puttitanun use a sample of developing countries to outline a nonlinear relationship between intellectual property rights and GDP level. Some studies test the relations between intellectual property rights protection and economic growth under the condition of not distinguishing the type of countries, and conclude the positive correlation. In addition, the studies focusing on developed countries indicate that intellectual property rights protection has an positive and significant effect on economic growth and productivity. The latter studies take development stage and economic structure of different countries. For example, Janjua and Samad, taking 10 middle income developing countries as examples, explore the empirical relationship between economic growth and intellectual property rights protection, concluding that intellectual property rights institution does not necessarily promote economic growth because of the lack of prepared infrastructure development. Above studies have indicated that intellectual property rights protection is an integral component of economic growth at national level.


The existing studies have shown that innovation plays an important role in regional economic development and that intellectual property rights protection is significant at national level. Therefore, the motivation for the study is from the fact that these studies do not involve in the relationship between intellectual property rights protection and economic development resulting from innovation at regional and urban levels. This dimension is important as the structure and level of intellectual property rights protection are quite different administrative levels. According to this point, we test the relationships between intellectual property rights protection and China’s economic transition which reflects the China’s economic growth at regional and urban level.


Xing Gao was matriculated as an undergraduate student majoring in Public Administration in the School of Public Management and Policy, China University of Mining and Technology (CUMT) in 2010. Meanwhile, he has also studied Finance which is his second major. Since 2012, Xing, supervised by Dr Liu Xuefeng who is an associate professor of CUMT, has been devoted to the study and learning of intellectual property rights management and policy. After obtaining his Bachelor Degree of Management in June 2014, he obtained a postgraduate recommendation from CUMT and still is supervised by Dr Liu. A year later, under the advice and consent of Dr Liu, he gave up the master degree at CUMT and get the offer of Institute of Education (IOE) at University College London (UCL) in 2015, with subject in Quantitative Research Methods.


In Sep. 2016, Xing obtained his MSc degree in Quantitative Research Methods from UCL, and his thesis focused on China’s intellectual property rights policy system evaluation. Now, Xing is a PhD student at Bartlett School of Planning, UCL. His research interests include intellectual property rights/patent management, regions/cities’ economy development, policy analysis, technology innovation and management.