The unsustainable directionality of innovation – The example of the broadband transition
Information and communication technology (ICT) can be seen as a general-purpose technology with wide-ranging socio-economic and environmental implications across sectors. ICTs also constitute a system of technologies with stronger internal links since the emergence of the Internet and broadband as a new information infrastructure. The new infrastructure has co-evolved with widespread integration of ICTs in everyday life, and consumer demand has been decisive for ICT innovation. This article explores the environmental directionality of ICT innovation and the broadband transition, focusing mainly on energy impacts. It is argued that much innovation tends to develop in an unsustainable direction and that public regulation falls far short of the challenge. Transition theory is applied to analyze the background for the unsustainable development and the reasons why environmental concerns do not figure more prominently in the broadband transition. Finally, it is discussed how the direction of ICT innovation could be influenced in order to realize more of the positive sustainability potential.
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Timothy F. Bresnahan & Manuel Trajtenberg, 1992.
"General Purpose Technologies "Engines of Growth?","
NBER Working Papers
4148, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Raven, Rob, 2007. "Co-evolution of waste and electricity regimes: Multi-regime dynamics in the Netherlands (1969-2003)," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 2197-2208, April.
- Ayres, Robert U. & Warr, Benjamin, 2005. "Accounting for growth: the role of physical work," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 181-209, June.
- Dosi, Giovanni, 1993.
"Technological paradigms and technological trajectories : A suggested interpretation of the determinants and directions of technical change,"
Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 102-103, April.
- Dosi, Giovanni, 1982. "Technological paradigms and technological trajectories : A suggested interpretation of the determinants and directions of technical change," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 147-162, June.
- Jeroen Bergh, 2011. "Energy Conservation More Effective With Rebound Policy," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 48(1), pages 43-58, January.
- Schor, Juliet B., 2005. "Prices and quantities: Unsustainable consumption and the global economy," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 309-320, November.
- Dale W. Jorgenson, 2001. "Information Technology and the U.S. Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 1-32, March.
- Smith, Adrian & Stirling, Andy & Berkhout, Frans, 2005. "The governance of sustainable socio-technical transitions," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(10), pages 1491-1510, December.
- R. Bolton & T.J. Foxon, 2011. "Governing Infrastructure Networks For A Low Carbon Economy: Co-Evolution Of Technologies And Institutions In Uk Electricity Distribution Networks," Competition and Regulation in Network Industries, Intersentia, vol. 12(1), pages 2-27, March.
- Crosbie, Tracey, 2008. "Household energy consumption and consumer electronics: The case of television," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(6), pages 2191-2199, June.
- Geels, Frank W., 2002. "Technological transitions as evolutionary reconfiguration processes: a multi-level perspective and a case-study," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(8-9), pages 1257-1274, December.
- Lauridsen, Erik Hagelskjær & Jørgensen, Ulrik, 2010. "Sustainable transition of electronic products through waste policy," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 486-494, May.
- Røpke, Inge & Haunstrup Christensen, Toke & Ole Jensen, Jesper, 2010. "Information and communication technologies - A new round of household electrification," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 1764-1773, April.
- Perez, Carlota, 1985. "Microelectronics, long waves and world structural change: New perspectives for developing countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 441-463, March.
- Shove, Elizabeth & Walker, Gordon, 2010. "Governing transitions in the sustainability of everyday life," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 471-476, May.
- Geels, Frank W. & Schot, Johan, 2007. "Typology of sociotechnical transition pathways," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 399-417, April.
- Cohen, Maurie J., 2010. "Destination unknown: Pursuing sustainable mobility in the face of rival societal aspirations," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 459-470, May.
- Binswanger, Mathias, 2001. "Technological progress and sustainable development: what about the rebound effect?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 119-132, January.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:41:y:2012:i:9:p:1631-1642. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.