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Electricity Sector Liberalisation and Innovation: An Analysis of the UK Patenting Activities

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  • Jamasb, T.
  • Pollitt, M.G.

Abstract

Liberalisation has had a marked effect on innovative activities in the electricity industry. R&D and patenting activities are generally regarded respectively as innovative inputs to and outputs from technological progress. Electricity reforms have resulted in a reduction in R&D spending in the sector. This paper examines the effect of reforms on patenting activity in the UK electricity sector. The results indicate that electricity related patents in non-nuclear and renewable technologies have increased in the post-liberalisation period. We attribute this trend to increased commercialisation of the sector. While this development is positive, we argue that a lasting decline in R&D will in the longer run reduce technological progress in the sector. In order to maintain the pace of innovation, we discuss the need for a framework for innovation systems that is commensurate with the incentive mechanisms of a liberalised sector.

Suggested Citation

  • Jamasb, T. & Pollitt, M.G., 2009. "Electricity Sector Liberalisation and Innovation: An Analysis of the UK Patenting Activities," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0902, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  • Handle: RePEc:cam:camdae:0902
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Electricity; patent; innovation; technology; liberalisation;

    JEL classification:

    • L94 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Electric Utilities
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • Q32 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Exhaustible Resources and Economic Development
    • Q38 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Government Policy (includes OPEC Policy)

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