Knowledge Spillovers from Clean and Dirty Technologies
Research Fellow in Productivity and Innovation at the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and Assistant Professor at Imperial College Business School, and member of the Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy (CCCEP).
How much should governments subsidize the development of new clean technologies? We use patentcitation data to investigate the relative intensity of knowledge spillovers in clean and dirty technologies in two technological fields: energy production and transportation. We introduce a new methodology that takes into account the whole history of patent citations to capture the indirect knowledge spillovers generated by patents. We find that conditional on a wide range of potential confounding factors clean patents receive on average 43% more citations than dirty patents. Knowledge spillovers from clean technologies are comparable in scale to those observed in the IT sector. The radical novelty of clean technologies relative to more incremental dirty inventions seems to account for their superiority. Our results can support public support for clean R&D. They also suggest that green policies might be able to boost economic growth through induced knowledge spillovers.
Keywords: Innovation spill-overs, Climate Change, Growth, Patents, Clean technology, Optimal climate policy
JEL codes: O30, O44, Q54, Q55, Q58, H23
Co-authors :Antoine Dechezleprêtre and Myra Mohnen
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