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Invention and International Diffusion of Water Conservation and Availability Technologies: Evidence from Patent Data

Author

Listed:
  • Antoine Dechezleprêtre

    (London School of Economics)

  • Ivan Haščič

    (OECD)

  • Nick Johnstone

    (OECD)

Abstract

This paper identifies over 50 000 patents filed worldwide in various water-related adaptation technologies between 1990 and 2010, distinguishing between those related to water availability (supply) and water conservation (demand) technologies. The paper then analyses the innovation activity – including inventive activity by country and technology, international collaboration in technology development, and international diffusion of such water-related technologies. The results suggest that although innovation activity in water-related technologies has been increasing over the last two decades, this growth has been disproportionately concentrated on supply-side technologies. Moreover, most innovation worldwide occurs in countries with low or moderate vulnerability towards water scarcity. While this is a reflection of the fact that most developed economies do not face severe water stress, this result highlights the importance of international technology transfer and policies that facilitate broad diffusion of these technologies in water-stressed countries. Ce document identifie plus de 50 000 brevets déposés dans le monde entier entre 1990 et 2010 sur diverses technologies d’adaptation dans le domaine de l’eau, en distinguant entre les technologies concernant l’accès à l’eau (offre) et celles qui se rapportent à la conservation de l’eau (demande). Il analyse ensuite les activités d’innovation – en particulier les activités d’invention par pays et technologies, la collaboration internationale dans le développement des technologies et la diffusion internationale des technologies dans le domaine de l’eau. Bien que l’activité d’innovation dans le domaine des technologies hydriques ait augmenté pendant les deux dernières décennies, cette augmentation a porté de façon disproportionnée sur les technologies du côté de l’offre. Dans la majorité l’innovation a lieu dans des pays peu ou modérément vulnérables au risque de pénurie des ressources en eau. Cette situation, qui reflète certainement le fait que la plupart des pays les plus développés ne sont pas confrontés à un grave déficit hydrique, souligne l’importance des transferts internationaux de technologies et des politiques susceptibles de faciliter une large diffusion de ces technologies dans les pays déficitaires en eau.

Suggested Citation

  • Antoine Dechezleprêtre & Ivan Haščič & Nick Johnstone, 2015. "Invention and International Diffusion of Water Conservation and Availability Technologies: Evidence from Patent Data," OECD Environment Working Papers 82, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:envaaa:82-en
    DOI: 10.1787/5js679fvllhg-en
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    File URL: https://doi.org/10.1787/5js679fvllhg-en
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    adaptation au changement climatique; climate change adaptation; innovation; innovation; rareté de l'eau; water scarcity;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O38 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Government Policy
    • Q25 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Water
    • Q28 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Government Policy
    • Q55 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Technological Innovation

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