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Policy-Induced Technology Adoption: Evidence from the U.S. Lead Phasedown

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  • Suzi Kerr
  • Richard G. Newell

Abstract

The theory of environmental regulation suggests that economic instruments, such as taxes and tradable permits, create more effective technology adoption incentives than conventional regulatory standards. We explore this issue for an important industry undergoing technological responses to a dramatic decrease in allowed pollution levels—the petroleum industry’s phasedown of lead in gasoline. Using a panel of refineries from 1971 to 1995, we provide some of the first direct evidence that alternative policies affect the pattern of adoption in expected ways. Importantly, we find that the tradable permit system used during the lead phasedown provided incentives for more efficient technology adoption decisions. Where environmentally appropriate, this suggests that flexible market-based regulation can achieve environmental goals while providing better incentives for technology diffusion.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal The Journal of Industrial Economics.

Volume (Year): 51 (2003)
Issue (Month): 3 (09)
Pages: 317-343

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Handle: RePEc:bla:jindec:v:51:y:2003:i:3:p:317-343

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  1. Kiefer, Nicholas M, 1988. "Economic Duration Data and Hazard Functions," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 26(2), pages 646-79, June.
  2. Nancy L. Rose & Paul L. Joskow, 1990. "The Diffusion of New Technologies: Evidence from the Electric Utility Industry," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(3), pages 354-373, Autumn.
  3. Stavins, Robert & Jaffe, Adam & Newell, Richard, 2000. "Technological Change and the Environment," Working Paper Series rwp00-002, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  4. Milliman, Scott R. & Prince, Raymond, 1989. "Firm incentives to promote technological change in pollution control," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 247-265, November.
  5. Jaffe Adam B. & Stavins Robert N., 1995. "Dynamic Incentives of Environmental Regulations: The Effects of Alternative Policy Instruments on Technology Diffusion," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages S43-S63, November.
  6. Timothy H. Hannan & John M. McDowell, 1984. "The Determinants of Technology Adoption: The Case of the Banking Firm," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(3), pages 328-335, Autumn.
  7. Richard G. Newell & Adam B. Jaffe & Robert N. Stavins, 1999. "The Induced Innovation Hypothesis And Energy-Saving Technological Change," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 941-975, August.
  8. Nelson, Randy A & Tietenberg, Tom & Donihue, Michael R, 1993. "Differential Environmental Regulation: Effects on Electric Utility Capital Turnover and Emissions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(2), pages 368-73, May.
  9. Geroski, P. A., 2000. "Models of technology diffusion," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(4-5), pages 603-625, April.
  10. Fischer, Carolyn & Parry, Ian W. H. & Pizer, William A., 2003. "Instrument choice for environmental protection when technological innovation is endogenous," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 523-545, May.
  11. Garth Saloner & Andrea Shepard, 1995. "Adoption of Technologies with Network Effects: An Empirical Examination of the Adoption of Teller Machines," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(3), pages 479-501, Autumn.
  12. Levin, Sharon G & Levin, Stanford L & Meisel, John B, 1987. "A Dynamic Analysis of the Adoption of a New Technology: The Case of Optical Scanners," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(1), pages 12-17, February.
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