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Innovation, Emissions Policy, and Competitive Advantage in the Diffusion of European Diesel Automobiles

Author

Listed:
  • Miravete, Eugenio J
  • Moral Rincón, Maria J
  • Thurk, Jeff

Abstract

Spurred by Volkswagen's introduction of the TDI diesel engine in 1989, market penetration of diesel cars in Europe increased from 10% in 1990 to over 50% in 2000. Using Spanish automobile registration data, we estimate an equilibrium discrete choice, oligopoly model of horizontally differentiated products. We find that changing product characteristics and the increasing popularity of diesels leads to correlation between observed and unobserved (to the researcher) product characteristics, an aspect we allow for in the estimation. Despite widespread imitation by its rivals, Volkswagen was able to capture 32% of the potential innovation rents and diesels accounted for approximately 60% of the firm's profits. Moreover, diesels amounted to an important competitive advantage for European auto makers over foreign imports. We provide evidence that the greenhouse emissions policy enacted by European regulators, and not preferential fuel taxes, enabled the adoption of diesels. In so doing, this non-tariff policy was equivalent to a 20% import tariff; effectively cutting imports in half.

Suggested Citation

  • Miravete, Eugenio J & Moral Rincón, Maria J & Thurk, Jeff, 2015. "Innovation, Emissions Policy, and Competitive Advantage in the Diffusion of European Diesel Automobiles," CEPR Discussion Papers 10783, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:10783
    as

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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. María Moral & Jordi Jaumandreu, 2007. "Automobile demand, model cycle and age effects," Spanish Economic Review, Springer;Spanish Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 193-218, September.
    2. Sharon Oster, 1982. "The Diffusion of Innovation among Steel Firms: The Basic Oxygen Furnace," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(1), pages 45-56, Spring.
    3. Josh Ederington & Jenny Minier, 2003. "Is environmental policy a secondary trade barrier? An empirical analysis," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 36(1), pages 137-154, February.
    4. Chugh, Randy & Cropper, Maureen & Narain, Urvashi, 2011. "The cost of fuel economy in the Indian passenger vehicle market," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(11), pages 7174-7183.
    5. Chamberlain, Gary, 1987. "Asymptotic efficiency in estimation with conditional moment restrictions," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 305-334, March.
    6. Grigolon, Laura & Reynaert, Mathias & Verboven, Frank, 2014. "Consumer valuation of fuel costs and the effectiveness of tax policy: Evidence from the European car market," CEPR Discussion Papers 10301, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    Cited by:

    1. D’Haultfœuille, Xavier & Durrmeyer, Isis & Février, Philippe, 2016. "Disentangling sources of vehicle emissions reduction in France: 2003–2008," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 186-229.
    2. Ederington,Josh & Ruta,Michele, 2016. "Non-tariff measures and the world trading system," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7661, The World Bank.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    diesel cars; emission standards; import tariff equivalence; innovation rents;

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • L62 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Automobiles; Other Transportation Equipment; Related Parts and Equipment
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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