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Impact of domestic energy-efficiency policies on foreign innovation: The case of lighting technologies

Kim, Yeong Jae, Brown, Marilyn
Energy policy 2019 v.128 pp. 539-552
developed countries, energy efficiency, governance, greenhouse gas emissions, issues and policy, technology, world markets
Fostering the global development of low-carbon technology is crucial to mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. This paper analyzes the effect of energy-efficiency policies on lighting patenting between 1992 and 2007, using data for 19 OECD countries. We examine levels of energy-efficiency RD&D expenditures (representing a technology-push approach) and the stringency of energy-efficiency performance standards (representing a demand-pull approach). We find strong correlational evidence that both domestic demand-pull and technology-push policies positively affect domestic lighting patenting. We also provide strong correlational evidence that the demand-pull policy positively affects foreign lighting patenting; however, the technology-push policy does not. These findings suggest that demand-pull policies can help to transform international markets for low-carbon technology innovation, and they underscore the importance of the often-overlooked international dimension of domestic energy-efficiency policies. To the extent that our findings are generalizable, our research suggests that governance processes that strengthen energy performance standards and steady investment in RD&D could spur energy innovation in industrialized nations across the world.