The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
This paper examines the effect of counterfeit goods in a world where consumers are differentiated by level of income and innovation is quality enhancing. Counterfeit goods are defined as products with the same characteristics as “originals”, but of lower quality. The effect of imitation on firms’ profits and consumer welfare depends on the distribution of income within the country. In particular, the greater the level of income inequality the larger the increase in consumer welfare due to the imitation, and the smaller the effect on profits of the state-of-the-art firm.