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They Don'T Invent Them Like They Used To: An Examination Of Energy Patent Citations Over Time

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  • David Popp

Abstract

This article uses patent citation data to study flows of knowledge across time and across institutions in the field of energy research. Popp [2002, Induced Innovation and Energy Prices. American Economic Review, 92(1), 160-180.] finds that the level of energy-saving research and development (R&D) depends not only on energy prices, but also on the quality of the accumulated knowledge available to inventors. Patent citations are used to represent this quality. This article explores the pattern of citations in these fields more carefully. Evidence for diminishing returns to research inputs, both across time and within a given year is found. To check whether government R&D can help alleviate potential diminishing returns, special attention is paid to citations to government patents. The government patents filed in or after 1981 are more likely to be cited. More importantly, descendants of these government patents are 30% more likely to be cited by subsequent patents. Earlier government research was more applied in nature and is not cited more frequently.

Suggested Citation

  • David Popp, 2006. "They Don'T Invent Them Like They Used To: An Examination Of Energy Patent Citations Over Time," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(8), pages 753-776.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:ecinnt:v:15:y:2006:i:8:p:753-776
    DOI: 10.1080/10438590500510459
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    Cited by:

    1. Nesta, Lionel & Vona, Francesco & Nicolli, Francesco, 2014. "Environmental policies, competition and innovation in renewable energy," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 67(3), pages 396-411.
    2. Nicolli, Francesco & Vona, Francesco, 2019. "Energy market liberalization and renewable energy policies in OECD countries," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 128(C), pages 853-867.
    3. Gautam Ahuja & Curba Morris Lampert & Vivek Tandon, 2014. "Paradigm-Changing vs. Paradigm-Deepening Innovation: How Firm Scope Influences Firm Technological Response to Shocks," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 25(3), pages 653-669, June.
    4. Bistline, John E., 2016. "Energy technology R&D portfolio management: Modeling uncertain returns and market diffusion," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 183(C), pages 1181-1196.
    5. Nesta, Lionel & Verdolini, Elena & Vona, Francesco, 2018. "Threshold Policy Effects and Directed Technical Change in Energy Innovation," CSI: Climate and Sustainable Innovation 268731, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM).
    6. Santen, Nidhi R. & Anadon, Laura Diaz, 2016. "Balancing solar PV deployment and RD&D: A comprehensive framework for managing innovation uncertainty in electricity technology investment planning," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 560-569.
    7. Pizer, William A. & Popp, David, 2008. "Endogenizing technological change: Matching empirical evidence to modeling needs," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 2754-2770, November.
    8. Nemet, Gregory F., 2012. "Inter-technology knowledge spillovers for energy technologies," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(5), pages 1259-1270.
    9. Popp, David, 2017. "From science to technology: The value of knowledge from different energy research institutions," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(9), pages 1580-1594.
    10. Shouro Dasgupta & Enrica De Cian & Elena Verdolini, 2016. "The Political Economy of Energy Innovation," Working Papers 2016.35, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    11. Popp, David & Newell, Richard G. & Jaffe, Adam B., 2010. "Energy, the Environment, and Technological Change," Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, in: Bronwyn H. Hall & Nathan Rosenberg (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 0, pages 873-937, Elsevier.
    12. Shouro Dasgupta & Enrica De Cian & Elena Verdolini, 2016. "The Political Economy of Energy Innovation," Working Papers 2016.35, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    13. Manuel Acosta & Daniel Coronado & Ana Fernández, 2009. "Exploring the quality of environmental technology in Europe: evidence from patent citations," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 80(1), pages 131-152, July.
    14. Popp, David & Santen, Nidhi & Fisher-Vanden, Karen & Webster, Mort, 2013. "Technology variation vs. R&D uncertainty: What matters most for energy patent success?," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 505-533.
    15. Daniels, Bryce & Johnson, Daniel K.N., 2019. "More where that came from: Induced innovation in the american oil and gas sectors," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 64(C).
    16. Carlsson , Bo, 2016. "Industrial Dynamics: A Review of the Literature 1990-2009," Papers in Innovation Studies 2016/3, Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation Research.
    17. Nemet, Gregory F. & Johnson, Evan, 2012. "Do important inventions benefit from knowledge originating in other technological domains?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 190-200.
    18. Maïder SAINT-JEAN & Nabila ARFAOUI & Eric BROUILLAT & David VIRAPIN, 2019. "Mapping technological knowledge patterns: evidence from ocean energy technologies," Cahiers du GREThA 2019-09, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée(GREThA).
    19. Popp, David & Newell, Richard, 2012. "Where does energy R&D come from? Examining crowding out from energy R&D," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 980-991.
    20. Johnson, Daniel K.N. & Acri nee Lybecker, Kristina M. & Moore, Jeffrey, 2019. "Sure, but who has the energy? The importance of location for knowledge transfer in the energy sector," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 582-588.
    21. David Popp, 2016. "From Science to Technology: The Value of Knowledge From Different Energy Research Institutions," NBER Working Papers 22573, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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