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The Induced Innovation Hypothesis and Energy-Saving Technological Change

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  • Richard G. Newell
  • Adam B. Jaffe
  • Robert N. Stavins

Abstract

It follows from Hicks' induced innovation hypothesis that rising energy prices in the last two decades should have induced energy-saving innovation. We formulate the hypothesis concretely using a product-characteristics model of energy-using consumer durables, augmenting Hicks' hypothesis to allow for the possibility that government efficiency standards also induce innovation. Through estimation of characteristics transformation surfaces, we find that technological change reduced the total capital and operating costs of air air conditioning by half and water heating by about one-fifth. Although the rate of overall innovation in these products appears to be independent of energy prices and regulations, the evidence suggests that the direction of innovation has been responsive to energy price changes. In particular, energy price increases induced innovation in a direction that lowered the capital cost tradeoffs inherent in producing more energy-efficiency products. In addition, energy price changes induced changes in the subset of technically feasible models that were offered for sale. Our estimates indicate that about one-quarter to one-half of the improvements in mean energy-efficiency of the menu of new models for these products over the last two decades were associated with rising energy prices since 1973. We also find that this responsiveness to price changes increased substantially after product labeling requirements came into effect, and that minimum efficiency standards had a significant positive effect on average efficiency levels. Nonetheless, a sizeable portion of efficiency improvements in these technologies appears to have been autonomous.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6437.

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Date of creation: Mar 1998
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6437

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  1. Epple, Dennis, 1987. "Hedonic Prices and Implicit Markets: Estimating Demand and Supply Functions for Differentiated Products," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(1), pages 59-80, February.
  2. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-38, May.
  3. Robert J. Gordon, 1990. "The Measurement of Durable Goods Prices," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gord90-1, October.
  4. Debreu,Gerard Introduction by-Name:Hildenbrand,Werner, 1986. "Mathematical Economics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521335614, November.
  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.
  6. Berry, Steven & Levinsohn, James & Pakes, Ariel, 1995. "Automobile Prices in Market Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(4), pages 841-90, July.
  7. Gordon, Robert J., 1990. "The Measurement of Durable Goods Prices," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226304557, Winter.
  8. Jerry A. Hausman, 1979. "Individual Discount Rates and the Purchase and Utilization of Energy-Using Durables," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 33-54, Spring.
  9. Richard C. Levin & Alvin K. Klevorick & Richard R. Nelson & Sidney G. Winter, 1988. "Appropriating the Returns from Industrial R&D," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 862, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  10. 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.
  11. Rosen, Sherwin, 1974. "Hedonic Prices and Implicit Markets: Product Differentiation in Pure Competition," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(1), pages 34-55, Jan.-Feb..
  12. Stavins, Joanna, 1995. "Model Entry and Exit in a Differentiated-Product Industry: The Personal Computer Market," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(4), pages 571-84, November.
  13. Fare, Rolf & Knox Lovell, C. A., 1978. "Measuring the technical efficiency of production," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 150-162, October.
  14. Adam Jaffe & Richard Newell & Robert Stavins, 2002. "Environmental Policy and Technological Change," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 22(1), pages 41-70, June.
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  1. Durable Housing and Overall Trends in the Economy's Energy Efficiency
    by Matthew E. Kahn in Environmental and Urban Economics on 2011-01-29 15:26:00
  2. Celebrating $4 Gas
    by Matthew E. Kahn in HBR Blog Network on 2011-03-14 14:41:23

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  1. > Environmental and Natural Resource Economics > Climate economics > Policy instruments
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