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Divergence of Renewable Energy Invention Efforts in Europe: An Econometric Analysis Based on Patent Counts
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Social Sciences. (Nationalekonomi)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5952-6379
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The objective of this paper is to investigate the presence of convergence (or divergence) of invention efforts per capita in the renewable energy field across European Union (EU) countries. Divergence may imply a risk of a lower level of goal fulfilment regarding the share of renewable energy in the EU energy mix. This is due to free-rider issues and sub-optimal investment levels, in turn making it more expensive and cumbersome to expand renewable energy production. Convergence suggests a faster renewable energy goal achievement. The econometric analysis is based on patent application counts per capita for 13 EU Member States over the time period 1990–2012. The methods used draw on the economic convergence literature. First, we rely on a panel data set to test for conditional β-convergence. Moreover, a distributional dynamics approach is employed to test for σ- and γ-convergence, and analyse the intra-distributional dynamics. The results indicate conditional β- and σ-divergence in renewable energy invention capabilities across the 13 countries, thus suggesting that some EU countries tend to free-ride on the development efforts of other Member States.

Keyword [en]
convergence, divergence, renewable energy development, patent counts, EU.
National Category
Economics and Business
Research subject
Economics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-62690OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-62690DiVA: diva2:1084686
Available from: 2017-03-27 Created: 2017-03-27 Last updated: 2017-03-27
In thesis
1. Technological Change in the Renewable Energy Sector: Essays on Knowledge Spillovers and Convergence
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Technological Change in the Renewable Energy Sector: Essays on Knowledge Spillovers and Convergence
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The overall purpose of this thesis is to investigate the determinants of technological change in the renewable energy sector, with a special emphasis on the role of knowledge spillovers and convergence across countries. The thesis consists of a preface and five self-contained papers. In Paper I technological change is broken down into the three major development stages laid out by Joseph Schumpeter: invention, innovation and diffusion. Econometric models of each of these stages are specified in the empirical context of wind power. The models are estimated employing a panel dataset consisting of eight western European countries over the time period 1991-2008. The results display evidence of national and international knowledge spillovers in the invention (i.e., patenting) model. The results from the technology learning models indicate evidence of global learning-by-doing, and that the prices of input factors have been important determinants of wind power costs. In line with previous research, the diffusion model results show that investment costs have influenced the development of installed wind power capacity. Paper II investigates how wind power inventions in European countries have affected the technological development achievements in neighboring countries. Data on the number of patents granted at the European Patent Office (EPO) during the period 1978-2008 in the eight technologically leading wind power countries in Europe are employed in a patent production function framework. The presence of international knowledge spillovers is found to constitute a statistically significant determinant of a country’s patent production. Geographical distance is also taken into consideration, and the results suggest that knowledge spillovers are subject to spatial transaction costs: with longer distances the role of international spillovers becomes weaker. Paper III investigates the convergence of inventive capabilities in the EU. Data on total patents per capita in 13 EU countries over the period 1990-2011 are analyzed using both parametric and non-parametric techniques. Converging inventive abilities may be important for the future of the EU given that rapid technological change has resulted in major structural changes in the Member States’ economies during the last decades. The β-convergence and σ-convergence tests suggest convergence in inventive capabilities, and this finding gains some support when analyzing the intra-distributional dynamics of the invention capabilities. Paper IV specifically investigates whether the generation of renewable energy patents per capita has converged or diverged across 13 EU countries over the period 1990-2012. The results indicate the presence of conditional β- and σ-divergence in renewable energy invention abilities. This could be critical for assessing the future prospects of EU policy in the renewable energy field; divergence in terms of invention outcomes could imply a less rapid and yet more expensive goal fulfillment due to free-rider behavior and sub-optimal investment levels. Finally, Paper V tests for convergence/divergence based on countries’ public spending to renewable energy R&D. The empirical analysis focuses on the presence of conditional β-convergence across 13 EU countries over the period 1990-2012. The results suggest divergence in public R&D-based knowledge accumulation, and this is consistent with free-riding behavior on the part of some EU Member States. Energy import dependence and electricity deregulation also affect this divergence pattern. For instance, the higher the energy import dependence, the lower is the speed of divergence across the EU countries in terms of public R&D support. Overall, the diverging pathways in terms of both public R&D and private patenting efforts may raise concerns about an unfair burden-sharing in terms of renewable energy development efforts.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Luleå: Luleå University of Technology, 2017
Series
Doctoral thesis / Luleå University of Technology 1 jan 1997 → …, ISSN 1402-1544
National Category
Economics
Research subject
Economics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-62695 (URN)978-91-7583-864-9 (ISBN)978-91-7583-865-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2017-05-24, A1545, Luleå Tekniska Universitet, Luleå, 10:35 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-04-05 Created: 2017-03-27 Last updated: 2017-04-24Bibliographically approved

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