Here, I study the effect of state enactment of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA) on R&D among U.S. businesses between 1979 and 1998. Using a new index of the legal protection of trade secrets, I find that the UTSA was associated with higher R&D among larger companies and those in high-tech industries. For the average company in the respective industry, the UTSA was associated with 3.2% more R&D in pharmaceuticals and 3.1% more R&D in computers and office equipment, as contrasted with no significant change in soaps and cleaners, and industrial machinery and equipment.
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