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Diffusion of Green Technology: A Survey


  • Corey Allan

    () (Motu Economic and Public Policy Research)

  • Adam B. Jaffe

    () (Motu Economic and Public Policy Research and National Bureau of Economic Research)

  • Isabelle Sin

    () (Motu Economic and Public Policy Research)


This paper surveys the existing literature on diffusion of environmentally beneficial technology. Overall, it confirms many of the lessons of the larger literature on technology diffusion: diffusion often appears slow when viewed from the outside; the flow of information is an important factor in the diffusion process; networks and organisations can matter; behavioural factors such as values and cognitive biases also play a role. With respect to policy instruments, there is some evidence that the flexibility of market-based instruments can have a beneficial impact on technology diffusion, but there are also numerous cases in which regulations have forced the adoption of new technologies. There would be significant benefit to increased investment in studies that look at questions such as the role of information provision, networks and framing issues in households’ and firms’ adoption decisions.

Suggested Citation

  • Corey Allan & Adam B. Jaffe & Isabelle Sin, 2014. "Diffusion of Green Technology: A Survey," Working Papers 14_04, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:mtu:wpaper:14_04

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Balint, T. & Lamperti, F. & Mandel, A. & Napoletano, M. & Roventini, A. & Sapio, A., 2017. "Complexity and the Economics of Climate Change: A Survey and a Look Forward," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 138(C), pages 252-265.
    2. Alfred Endres & Tim Friehe & Bianca Rundshagen, 2015. "Environmental liability law and R&D subsidies: results on the screening of firms and the use of uniform policy," Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Springer;Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies - SEEPS, vol. 17(4), pages 521-541, October.
    3. F. Knobloch & J. -F. Mercure, 2016. "The behavioural aspect of green technology investments: a general positive model in the context of heterogeneous agents," Papers 1603.06888,
    4. Brian Chi-ang Lin & Siqi Zheng & Nicolò Barbieri & Claudia Ghisetti & Marianna Gilli & Giovanni Marin & Francesco Nicolli, 2016. "A Survey Of The Literature On Environmental Innovation Based On Main Path Analysis," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(3), pages 596-623, July.
    5. Solmaria Halleck Vega & Antoine Mandel, 2017. "A network-based approach to technology transfers in the context of climate policy," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 17009, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
    6. Bonilla, Jorge & Coria, Jessica & Mohlin, Kristina & Sterner, Thomas, 2015. "Refunded emission payments and diffusion of NOx abatement technologies in Sweden," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 132-145.

    More about this item


    technology diffusion; technology transfer; policy instruments; green technology;

    JEL classification:

    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • Q55 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Technological Innovation
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth

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