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

Nick Johnstone, Ivan Haščič, David Popp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

636 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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