Renewable energy policies and technological innovation: Evidence based on patent counts

Nick Johnstone, Ivan Haščič, David Popp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1072 Scopus citations


This paper examines the effect of environmental policies on technological innovation in the specific case of renewable energy. The analysis is conducted using patent data on a panel of 25 countries over the period 1978-2003. We find that public policy plays a significant role in determining patent applications. Different types of policy instruments are effective for different renewable energy sources. Broad-based policies, such as tradable energy certificates, are more likely to induce innovation on technologies that are close to competitive with fossil fuels. More targeted subsidies, such as feed-in tariffs, are needed to induce innovation on more costly energy technologies, such as solar power. Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-155
Number of pages23
JournalEnvironmental and Resource Economics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010


  • Environmental policy
  • Innovation
  • Patents
  • Renewable energy
  • Technological change

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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