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Using Scientific Publications to Evaluate Government R&D Spending: The Case of Energy

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  • David Popp

Abstract

The mix of public and private research funding investments in alternative energy presents a challenge for isolating the effect of government R&D funding. Factors such as energy prices and environmental policy influence both private and public R&D decisions. Moreover, because government R&D is further upstream from the final commercialized product, it may take several years for its effect on technology to be realized. Combining data on scientific publications for alternative energy technologies with data on government R&D support for these technologies, we address these challenges. First, we ask how long it takes for energy R&D to provide successful research outcomes. We both provide information on the lags between research funding and new publication and link these articles to citations in U.S. energy patents. One million dollars in additional government R&D funding leads to 1-2 additional publications, but with lags as long as ten years between initial funding and publication. Second, we ask whether adjustment costs associated with large increases in research funding result in diminishing returns to government R&D. There is no evidence of diminishing returns on the level of publication output, but some evidence that additional funding leads to lower quality publications, using citations as a measure of publication quality.

Suggested Citation

  • David Popp, 2015. "Using Scientific Publications to Evaluate Government R&D Spending: The Case of Energy," CESifo Working Paper Series 5442, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_5442
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    File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/DocDL/cesifo1_wp5442.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Nicolli, Francesco & Vona, Francesco, 2016. "Heterogeneous policies, heterogeneous technologies: The case of renewable energy," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 190-204.
    2. repec:eee:respol:v:46:y:2017:i:8:p:1454-1464 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. 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).
    4. Albrizio, Silvia & Kozluk, Tomasz & Zipperer, Vera, 2017. "Environmental policies and productivity growth: Evidence across industries and firms," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 209-226.
    5. Grafström, Jonas & Söderholm, Patrik & Gawel, Erik & Lehmann, Paul & Strunz, Sebastian, 2017. "Knowledge Accumulation from Public Renewable Energy R&D in the European Union: Converging or Diverging Trends?," Ratio Working Papers 292, The Ratio Institute.
    6. Rosenbloom, Joshua L. & Ginther, Donna K., 2017. "Show me the Money: Federal R&D Support for Academic Chemistry, 1990–2009," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(8), pages 1454-1464.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    public R&D; publication data; solar energy; wind energy; biofuels; energy efficiency;

    JEL classification:

    • O38 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Government Policy
    • Q42 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Alternative Energy Sources
    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy
    • Q55 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Technological Innovation

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