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

  • Jamasb, T.
  • Pollitt, M.G.

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.

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Paper provided by Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge in its series Cambridge Working Papers in Economics with number 0902.

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Date of creation: Jan 2009
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Handle: RePEc:cam:camdae:0902
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  1. Griliches, Zvi, 1990. "Patent Statistics as Economic Indicators: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 28(4), pages 1661-1707, December.
  2. Foxon, T. J. & Gross, R. & Chase, A. & Howes, J. & Arnall, A. & Anderson, D., 2005. "UK innovation systems for new and renewable energy technologies: drivers, barriers and systems failures," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(16), pages 2123-2137, November.
  3. Narin, Francis & Hamilton, Kimberly S. & Olivastro, Dominic, 1997. "The increasing linkage between U.S. technology and public science," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 317-330, October.
  4. Sioshansi, Fereidoon P., 2001. "Competition in Liberalized European Electricity Markets," The Electricity Journal, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 73-83, March.
  5. Jamasb, T. & Pollitt, M., 2005. "Deregulation and R&D in Network Industries: The Case of the Electricity Industry," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0533, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  6. Nick Johnstone & Ivan Hascic & David Popp, 2008. "Renewable Energy Policies And Technological Innovation: Evidence Based On Patent Counts," NBER Working Papers 13760, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Paul L. Joskow, 1998. "Electricity Sectors in Transition," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2), pages 25-52.
  8. Lanjouw, Jean Olson & Mody, Ashoka, 1996. "Innovation and the international diffusion of environmentally responsive technology," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 549-571, June.
  9. Nemet, Gregory F. & Kammen, Daniel M., 2007. "U.S. energy research and development: Declining investment, increasing need, and the feasibility of expansion," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 746-755, January.
  10. Jamasb, Tooraj & Nuttall, William J. & Pollitt, Michael, 2008. "The case for a new energy research, development and promotion policy for the UK," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(12), pages 4610-4614, December.
  11. Basberg, Bjorn L., 1987. "Patents and the measurement of technological change: A survey of the literature," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 16(2-4), pages 131-141, August.
  12. Markard, Jochen & Truffer, Bernhard, 2006. "Innovation processes in large technical systems: Market liberalization as a driver for radical change?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 609-625, June.
  13. Margolis, Robert M. & Kammen, Daniel M., 1999. "Evidence of under-investment in energy R&D in the United States and the impact of Federal policy," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(10), pages 575-584, October.
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