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Environmental Policy Design, Innovation And Efficiency Gains In Electricity Generation

Author

Listed:
  • Nick Johnstone

    (OECD)

  • Shunsuke Managi

    (Kyushu University)

  • Miguel Cárdenas Rodríguez

    (OECD)

  • Ivan Haščič

    (OECD)

  • Hidemichi Fujii

    (Nagasaki University)

  • Martin Souchier

    (École Polytechnique)

Abstract

This paper explores the relationship between environmental regulation, innovation, and competitiveness, drawing upon a unique dataset on environmental regulations directed at combustion plants, a global dataset of power plants, and a global dataset of ‘environmental’ patents. The analysis is conducted in two stages. First, a nonparametric frontier analysis is implemented to estimate efficiency scores, including a measure of technological innovation based on patent stocks. Second, econometric methods are applied to analyse the role of policy stringency and policy design on efficiency. Our estimation sample covers thermal power plant sectors in 20 countries from 1990 to 2009. The results show that the stringency of environmental regulations is a significant determinant of productive efficiency with respect to pollutant emissions as well as fuel use. However, these effects turn negative once the level of stringency leaps over a certain threshold. In addition, the paper concludes that the positive effect of regulatory stringency can be diminished by a negative effect of regulatory differentiation with measures which are differentiated across plant size and age having negative consequences, and these effects are increasing over time. This finding is important given the prevalence of size- and vintage-differentiated policies in many countries. Finally, it is found that integrated approaches to environmental innovation are more likely to bring about efficiency improvements than end-of-pipe technologies. Cet article étudie les relations entre réglementation environnementale, innovation et efficacité, en s’appuyant sur un ensemble de données mondiales sur les inventions « environnementales » brevetées et sur les centrales électriques, ainsi que sur un jeu unique de données sur la réglementation environnementale applicable aux installations de combustion. Cette étude comporte deux étapes. Dans un premier temps, des scores d’efficience sont estimés à l’aide d’une analyse non-paramétrique de la frontière efficiente de production, en utilisant notamment des indicateurs d’innovation comme les stocks de brevets. Ensuite, l’impact des politiques environnementales sur ces scores d’efficience est analysé économétriquement. Notre analyse couvre le secteur des centrales thermiques dans 20 pays entre 1990 et 2009. Les résultats montrent que des politiques environnementales contraignantes ont un effet positif sur l’efficacité de la production tant concernant l’émission de polluants que la consommation de carburant. Néanmoins, cet effet devient négatif lorsque la contrainte réglementaire dépasse un certain seuil. Par ailleurs, l’effet positif d’une réglementation contraignante peut être atténué lorsque celle-ci est différentiée en fonction de l’âge ou de la taille de la centrale. Les conséquences négatives d’une telle différentiation se font alors souvent sentir à long terme. Compte tenu de la prédominance d’une telle approche dans de nombreux pays, ce constat invite à une refonte des politiques environnementales en matière de limitation des émissions polluantes. Enfin, il est également constaté que des innovations environnementales intégrées (modifiant l’ensemble de la chaine de production) ont un impact plus important sur l’efficacité de la production que les innovations de fin de processus.

Suggested Citation

  • Nick Johnstone & Shunsuke Managi & Miguel Cárdenas Rodríguez & Ivan Haščič & Hidemichi Fujii & Martin Souchier, 2016. "Environmental Policy Design, Innovation And Efficiency Gains In Electricity Generation," OECD Environment Working Papers 104, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:envaaa:104-en
    DOI: 10.1787/5jm0t716kwmw-en
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    différentiation de la réglementation; directional distance function; efficience productive; environmental innovation; fonction de distance directionnelle; innovation environnementale; policy design; productive efficiency; regulatory differentiation; élaboration des politiques;
    All these keywords.

    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
    • 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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