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Policy-Induced Technology Adoption: Evidence from the U.S. Lead Phasedown

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  • Kerr, Suzi
  • Newell, Richard

    () (Resources for the Future)

Abstract

The theory of environmental regulation suggests that economic instruments, such as taxes and tradable permits, create more effective technology adoption incentives than conventional regulatory standards. We explore this issue for an important industry undergoing technological responses to a dramatic decrease in allowed pollution levels—the petroleum industry’s phasedown of lead in gasoline. Using a panel of refineries from 1971 to 1995, we provide some of the first direct evidence that alternative policies affect the pattern of adoption in expected ways. Importantly, we find that the tradable permit system used during the lead phasedown provided incentives for more efficient technology adoption decisions. Where environmentally appropriate, this suggests that flexible market-based regulation can achieve environmental goals while providing better incentives for technology diffusion.

Suggested Citation

  • Kerr, Suzi & Newell, Richard, 2001. "Policy-Induced Technology Adoption: Evidence from the U.S. Lead Phasedown," Discussion Papers dp-01-14, Resources For the Future.
  • Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-01-14
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Jaffe Adam B. & Stavins Robert N., 1995. "Dynamic Incentives of Environmental Regulations: The Effects of Alternative Policy Instruments on Technology Diffusion," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 43-63, November.
    2. Kiefer, Nicholas M, 1988. "Economic Duration Data and Hazard Functions," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 26(2), pages 646-679, June.
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    4. Nelson, Randy A & Tietenberg, Tom & Donihue, Michael R, 1993. "Differential Environmental Regulation: Effects on Electric Utility Capital Turnover and Emissions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(2), pages 368-373, May.
    5. Stavins, Robert & Jaffe, Adam & Newell, Richard, 2000. "Technological Change and the Environment," Working Paper Series rwp00-002, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    6. Timothy H. Hannan & John M. McDowell, 1984. "The Determinants of Technology Adoption: The Case of the Banking Firm," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(3), pages 328-335, Autumn.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    technology; adoption; diffusion; environment; regulation; lead; gasoline; tradable permit; incentive-based policy;

    JEL classification:

    • C41 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Duration Analysis; Optimal Timing Strategies
    • L71 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Primary Products and Construction - - - Mining, Extraction, and Refining: Hydrocarbon Fuels
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • Q28 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Government Policy
    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy

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