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American Economic Journal: Economic Policy: Vol. 4 No. 4 (November 2012)

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Innovation and Climate Change Policy

Article Citation

Gans, Joshua S. 2012. "Innovation and Climate Change Policy." American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 4(4): 125-45.

DOI: 10.1257/pol.4.4.125

Abstract

This paper examines whether climate change policies will induce innovation in environmentally friendly technologies. The model demonstrates that a tighter emissions cap will reduce the scale of fossil fuel usage and that this will diminish incentives to improve fossil fuel efficiencies. In addition, such policies may stimulate the relative demand for innovations that improve the efficiency of alternative energy but carbon scarcity may diminish innovation incentives overall. Only for technologies that directly abate carbon pollution will there be an unambiguously positive impact on innovation. These results have implications for climate change targets and the design of climate change policy. (JEL O31, Q54, Q55, Q58)

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Authors

Gans, Joshua S. (U Toronto)

JEL Classifications

O31: Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
Q54: Climate; Natural Disasters; Global Warming
Q55: Environmental Economics: Technological Innovation
Q58: Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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