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

Listed author(s):
  • Miravete, Eugenio J
  • Moral Rincón, Maria J
  • Thurk, Jeff
Registered author(s):

    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.

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    Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 10783.

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    Date of creation: Aug 2015
    Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:10783
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    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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