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Policy vs. Consumer Pressure: Innovation and Diffusion of Alternative Bleaching Technologies in the Pulp Industry

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  • David Popp
  • Tamara Hafner
  • Nick Johnstone

Abstract

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, concern over dioxin in both paper products and wastewater led to the development of techniques that reduced the use of chlorine in the pulp industry. Both regulatory and consumer pressure motivated this change. We use patent data to examine the evolution of two completing bleaching technologies in five major paper-producing countries, both of which reduce the use of chlorine in the pulping process. By the end of the 1990s, nearly all pulp production in these countries used one of these technologies. Unlike other papers using patents to study environmentally-friendly innovation, we focus on a process innovation, rather than on end-of-the-pipe solutions to pollution. Moreover, while previous studies emphasize the importance of regulation for inducing innovation, here we find substantial innovation occurring before regulations were in place. Instead, pressure from consumers to reduce the chlorine content of paper drives the first round of innovation. However, while some companies choose to adopt these technologies in response to consumer pressure, not all firms will differentiate their product in this way. Thus, governments need to regulate if their goal is broad diffusion of the environmental technology.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13439.

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Date of creation: Sep 2007
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Publication status: published as Research Policy Volume 40, Issue 9, November 2011, Pages 1253–1268
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13439

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  1. repec:fth:harver:1473 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Zvi Griliches, 1998. "Patent Statistics as Economic Indicators: A Survey," NBER Chapters, in: R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence, pages 287-343 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Jean O. Lanjouw & Mark Schankerman, 2004. "Patent Quality and Research Productivity: Measuring Innovation with Multiple Indicators," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(495), pages 441-465, 04.
  4. Lanjouw, Jean Olson & Mody, Ashoka, 1996. "Innovation and the international diffusion of environmentally responsive technology," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 549-571, June.
  5. Richard C. Levin & Alvin K. Klevorick & Richard R. Nelson & Sidney G. Winter, 1987. "Appropriating the Returns from Industrial Research and Development," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 18(3), pages 783-832.
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Cited by:
  1. Nick Johnstone & Ivan Hascic, 2009. "Environmental Policy Design and the Fragmentation of International Markets for Innovation," CESifo Working Paper Series 2630, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Lionel Nesta & Francesco Nicolli & Francesco Vona, 2012. "Determinants of renewable energy innovation: environmental policies vs. market regulation," Sciences Po publications 2012-05, Sciences Po.
  3. Enrica Cian & Valentina Bosetti & Massimo Tavoni, 2012. "Technology innovation and diffusion in “less than ideal” climate policies: An assessment with the WITCH model," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 114(1), pages 121-143, September.
  4. Alessio D'Amato & Massimiliano Mazzanti & Francesco Nicolli, 2011. "Waste Sustainability, Environmental Management and Mafia: Analysing Geographical and Economic Dimensions," CEIS Research Paper 213, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 24 Oct 2011.
  5. Vanessa OLTRA (GREThA UMR CNRS 5113) & René KEMP (University of Maastrich) & Frans P. de VRIES (University of Stirling), 2009. "Patents as a Measure for Eco-Innovation," Cahiers du GREThA 2009-05, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée.
  6. Antoine Dechezleprêtre & Matthieu Glachant, 2011. "Does foreign environmental policy influence domestic innovation ? Evidence from the wind industry," Post-Print hal-00574108, HAL.
  7. Vanessa OLTRA (GREThA UMR CNRS 5113), 2008. "Environmental innovation and industrial dynamics: the contributions of evolutionary economics," Cahiers du GREThA 2008-28, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée.
  8. Antoine Dechezleprêtre & Richard Perkins & Eric Neumayer, 2012. "Regulatory distance and the transfer of new environmentally sound technologies: evidence from the automobile sector," Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment Working Papers 73, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
  9. Rachel Bouvier, 2010. "The Natural Environment as Field-Level Actor: The Environment and the Pulp and Paper Industry in Maine," Journal of Economic Issues, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 44(3), pages 717-735, September.
  10. David Popp & Richard G. Newell & Adam B. Jaffe, 2009. "Energy, the Environment, and Technological Change," NBER Working Papers 14832, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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