Honors Program Theses


Open Access Honors Program Thesis

First Advisor

Lisa Jepsen


The debate over giving away the COVID-19 vaccine formulas is a political hot topic. Mention of a Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) waiver proposed in early 2021 suggested violating patent law to give away the vaccine formulas. While a tempting option, many problems exist with this solution. Violating patent law to give away the vaccine formulas disincentivizes innovation, undermines confidence in vaccine safety, and harms America’s geopolitical objectives. Patent law can be inefficient and is not the only way to incentivize innovation, but it is here to stay. Instead, the United States should give away vaccines rather than vaccine formulas to help the world in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Year of Submission



Department of Economics

University Honors Designation

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (28 pages)

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.