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Technology, development, and the environment

  • Fisher-Vanden, Karen
  • Ho, Mun S.

In an attempt to achieve the positive externalities from a more knowledge-intensive economy, many developing countries have emphasized improvements in their science and technology (S&T) capabilities. China, in particular, has been experiencing an acceleration in its R&D intensity, causing many to wonder whether China is undergoing an S&T takeoff. In this paper, we simulate the effects of an S&T takeoff using a model of China that incorporates econometric estimates from 1500 industrial enterprises in China. We find that an S&T takeoff will lead to lower goods prices overall, but a larger drop in energy prices due to the energy-saving bias of R&D. The outcome is higher capital investment and economic growth; a substitution of energy for other factors of production; and greater energy consumption by households. Our findings underscore the importance of considering the economy-wide implications of a technology policy, recognizing that better technology does not necessarily imply a cleaner environment.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Environmental Economics and Management.

Volume (Year): 59 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 94-108

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeeman:v:59:y:2010:i:1:p:94-108
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622870

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  1. Acemoglu, Daron, 2002. "Directed Technical Change," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(4), pages 781-809, October.
  2. Copeland,B.R. & Scott Taylor,M., 2003. "Trade, growth and the environment," Working papers 10, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  3. Popp, David C., 2001. "The effect of new technology on energy consumption," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 215-239, July.
  4. Hu, Albert Guangzhou & Jefferson, Gary H., 2004. "Returns to research and development in Chinese industry: Evidence from state-owned enterprises in Beijing," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 86-107, January.
  5. Fisher-Vanden, Karen & Jefferson, Gary H., 2008. "Technology diversity and development: Evidence from China's industrial enterprises," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 658-672, December.
  6. Ang, B.W. & Zhang, F.Q., 2000. "A survey of index decomposition analysis in energy and environmental studies," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 25(12), pages 1149-1176.
  7. Atkinson, Scott E & Halvorsen, Robert, 1984. "Parametric Efficiency Tests, Economies of Scale, and Input Demand in U.S. Electric Power Generation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 25(3), pages 647-62, October.
  8. Kraay, Aart & Soloaga, Isidro & Tybout, James, 2002. "Product quality, productive efficiency, and international technology diffusion : evidence from plant-level panel data," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2759, The World Bank.
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