Green inventions and greenhouse gas emission dynamics: a close examination of provincial Italian data

Abstract

Eco-innovation plays a crucial role in reducing carbon emissions. Exploiting the consolidated IPAT/STIRPAT framework, this paper studies whether a relationship exists between green technological change (measured as stock of green patent) and both CO2 emissions and emission efficiency (CO2/VA). To investigate this relation, a rich panel covering 95 Italian provinces from 1990 to 2010 is exploited. The main regression results suggest that green technology has not yet played a significant role in promoting environmental protection, although it improved significantly environmental productivity. Notably, this result is not driven by regional differences, and the main evidence is consistent among different areas of the country.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5

Notes

  1. 1.

    An example of study dealing with the value of patent rights can be found in Harhoff et al. (1999), while Co (2004) presents an interesting analysis on the role of patent rights in international trade. For more information on the use of patents in economic analysis see OECD (2009).

  2. 2.

    We included year and provincial fixed effect to control for unobserved heterogeneity. Standard Hausman test (see Table 2 below) rejects the null hypothesis of consistency of the random effect model, motivating the choice of the fixed effect estimator. Moreover, all the dummies being jointly significant (see F test in Table 2) we prefer the fixed effects model over a pooled OLS model.

  3. 3.

    An extensive discussion of the use of patents as an indicator of innovative activity is provided in Sect. 2.

  4. 4.

    Applicants may choose to apply at the European Patent Office (EPO), rather than applying to individual patent offices, and designate as many of the EPO member states for protection as desired. The application is examined by the EPO. If granted, the patent is transferred to the individual national patent offices designated for protection. Since 1997, the designation of any additional member states is free after the first seven. Since 2004, all EPO states are automatically designated.

  5. 5.

    See, for reference, OECD (2011) and other works by the OECD environmental directorate.

  6. 6.

    In all instances, new provinces are the result of the division in two new administrative entities of an old province. For this reason, we always reconstructed the 1990 data merging the new provinces into the old one.

  7. 7.

    The average population across Italian provinces was 597,663 in 1990 and 633,791 in 2010, showing only a limited increase in population in the two decades. Moreover, we note that the within variation of population in the panel is five times lower than the between variation, suggesting that the time dimension, in this case, is not relevant.

  8. 8.

    An F test, not included for sake of brevity, rejects the null hypothesis that the two coefficients are significant across the two samples.

References

  1. Abbott FM (2012) Innovation and technology transfer to address climate change: lessons from the global debate on intellectual property and public health. International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, Issue Paper no. 24

  2. Aghion P, Dechezleprêtre A, Hemous D, Martin R, Van Reenen J (2012) Carbon taxes path dependency and directed technical change: evidence from the auto industry. NBER working paper no. 18596

  3. Anton WRQ, Deltas G, Khanna M (2004) Incentives for environmental self-regulation and implications for environmental performance. J Environ Econ Manag 48:632–654

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Berrone P, Fosfuri A, Gelabert R, Gomez-Mejia LR (2013) Necessity as the mother of “green” inventions: institutional pressures and environmental innovations. Strateg Manag J 34:891–909

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Borhan H, Ahmed EM, Hitam M (2012) The impact of CO2 on economic growth in Asean 8. Procedia Soc Behav Sci 35:389–397

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Brizga J, Feng K, Hubacek K (2013) Drivers of CO2 emissions in the former Soviet Union: a country level IPAT analysis from 1990 to 2010. Energy 59:743–753

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Cai WG, Zhou XL (2014) On the drivers of eco-innovation: empirical evidence from China. J Clean Prod 79:239–248

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Carrión-Flores CE, Innes R (2010) Environmental innovation and environmental performance. J Environ Econ Manag 59(1):27–42

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Carson RT (2010) The environmental Kuznets curve: seeking empirical regularity and theoretical structure. Rev Environ Econ Policy 4(1):3–23

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Cecere G, Corrocher N, Gossart C, Ozman M (2014) Lock-in and path dependence: an evolutionary a: roach to eco-innovations. J Evol Econ 24(5):1037–1065

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Chong WHB, Guan D, Guthrie P (2012) Comparative analysis of carbonization drivers in China’s megacities. J Ind Ecol 16:564–575

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Christmann P (2000) Effects of “best practices” of environmental management on cost advantage: the role of complementary assets. Acad Manage J 43:663–680

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Co CY (2004) Do patent rights regimes matter? Rev Int Econ 12(3):359–373

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Cole MA, Neumayer E (2004) Examining the impact of demographic factors on air pollution. Popul Environ 26:5–21

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Commoner B (1971) The closing circle: nature man and technology. In: Cahn MA, Brien RO, Sharpe ME (eds) Thinking about the environment: readings on politics property and the physical world. Armonk, New York, pp 167–186

    Google Scholar 

  16. Costantini V, Mazzanti M, Montini A (2013) Environmental performance innovation and spillovers Evidence from a regional NAMEA. Ecol Econ 89:101–114

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. De Haan M (2004) Accounting for goods and bads: measuring environmental pressure in a national accounts framework. Ph.D. Dissertation. Universiteit Twente, Enschede

  18. Del Río P (2009) The empirical analysis of the determinants for environmental technological change: a research agenda. Ecol Econ 68(3):861–878

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Del Río P, Tarancón Morán MÁ, Albiñana FC (2011) Analysing the determinants of environmental technology investments. A panel-data study of Spanish industrial sectors. J Clean Prod 19:1170–1179

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Dernis H, Kahn M (2004) Triadic patent families methodology. OECD science, technology and industry working papers, no. 2004/02 OECD Publishing

  21. Dietz T, Rosa EA (1994) Rethinking the environmental impacts of population, affluence and technology. Hum Ecol Rev 1(2):277–300

    Google Scholar 

  22. Dietz T, Rosa EA (1997) Effects of population and affluence on CO2 emissions. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 94:175–179

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Dopfer K (2012) The origins of meso economics. J Evol Econ 22:133–160

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Ehrlich P, Holdren J (1971) Impact of population growth. Science 171:1212–1217

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Fan Y, Liu LC, Wu G, Wei YM (2006) Analyzing impact factors of CO2 emissions using the STIRPAT model. Environ Impact Asses 26:377–395

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Feng K, Siu YL, Guan D (2012) Analyzing drivers of regional carbon dioxide emissions for China: a structural decomposition analysis. J Ind Ecol 16:600–611

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Gilli M, Mancinelli S, Mazzanti M (2014) Innovation complementarity and environmental productivity effects: reality or delusion? Evidence from the EU. Ecol Econ 103:56–67

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Goulder LH, Schneider SH (1999) Induced technological change and the attractiveness of CO2 abatement policies. Resour Energy Econ 21(3–4):211–253

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Griliches Z (1990) Patent statistics as economic indicators. NBER working paper no. 3301

  30. Grossman GM, Krueger AB (1995) Economic growth and the environment. Q J Econ 110:353–377

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Harhoff D, Narin F, Scherer FM, Vopel K (1999) Citation frequency and the value of patented inventions. Rev Econ Stat 81(3):511–515

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Kaya Y (1990) Impact of carbon dioxide emission control on GNP growth: interpretation of proposed scenarios. Paper presented to the IPCC Energy and Industry Subgroup, Response Strategies Working Group, Paris (mimeo)

  33. Kerr D, Mellon H (2012) Population and the environment: exploring Canada’s record on CO2 emissions and energy use relative to other OECD countries. Popul Environ 34:257–278

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Kim K, Kim Y (2012) International comparison of industrial CO2 emission trends and the energy efficiency paradox utilizing production-based decomposition. Energy Econ 34(5):1724–1741

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Kwon TH (2005) Decomposition of factors determining the trend of CO2 emissions from car travel in Great Britain (1970–2000). Ecol Econ 53:261–275

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Liddle B (2004) Demographic dynamics and per capita environmental impact: using panel regressions and household decompositions to examine population and transport. Popul Environ 26:23–39

    Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Liddle B, Lung S (2010) Age-structure, urbanization, and climate change in developed countries: revisiting STIRPAT for disaggregated population and consumption-related environmental impacts. Popul Environ 31(5):317–343

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Liu Z, Liang S, Geng Y, Xue B, Xi F, Pan Y, Zhang T, Fujita T (2012) Features trajectories and driving forces for energy-related GHG emissions from Chinese mega cites: the case of Beijing Tianjin Shanghai and Chongqing. Energy 37:245–254

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. MacKellar LF, Lutz W, Prinz C, Goujon A (1995) Population, households, and CO2 emissions. Popul Dev Rev 21(4):849–865

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Marin G, Mazzanti M (2010) The evolution of environmental and labor productivity dynamics. J Evol Econ 23(2):357–399

    Article  Google Scholar 

  41. Mazzanti M, Montini A (2010) Embedding the drivers of emission efficiency at regional level—analyses of NAMEA data. Ecol Econ 69:2457–2467

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. O’Neill BC, Chen BS (2002) Demographic determinants of household energy use in the United States. Popul Dev Rev 28:53–88

    Google Scholar 

  43. OECD (2009) OECD Patent statistics manual. OECD Publishing, Paris

    Google Scholar 

  44. OECD (2011) Invention and transfer of environmental technologies. OECD Publishing, Paris

    Google Scholar 

  45. Popp D (2002) Induced innovation and energy prices. Am Econ Rev 92:160–180

    Article  Google Scholar 

  46. Popp D, Hascic I, Medhi N (2011) Technology and the diffusion of renewable energy. Energy Econ 33(4):648–662

    Article  Google Scholar 

  47. Prskawetz A, Leiwen J, O’Neill B (2004) Demographic composition and projections of car use in Austria. Vienna Yearbook Popul Res 175–201

  48. Repetto R (1990) Environmental productivity and why it is so important. Chall 33(5):33–38

    Article  Google Scholar 

  49. Shi A (2003) The impact of population pressure on global carbon dioxide emissions 1975–1996: evidence from pooled cross-country data. Ecol Econ 44:29–42

    Article  Google Scholar 

  50. Wang Z, Yang Z, Zhang Y, Yin J (2012) Energy technology patents—CO2 emissions nexus: an empirical analysis from China. Energ Policy 42:248–260

    Article  Google Scholar 

  51. York R, Rosa EA, Dietz T (2003) STIRPAT IPAT and ImPACT: analytic tools for unpacking the driving forces of environmental impacts. Ecol Econ 46:351–365

    Article  Google Scholar 

  52. Zagheni E (2011) The leverage of demographic dynamics on carbon dioxide emissions: does age structure matter? Demography 48:371–399

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

The authors acknowledge financial support of the Italian National Research Project PRIN-MIUR 2010-11 “Climate changes in the Mediterranean area: scenarios, mitigation policies and technological innovation” (2010S2LHSE_002). Usual disclaimers apply.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Marianna Gilli.

Appendix

Appendix

See Table 3 and Fig. 5.

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Weina, D., Gilli, M., Mazzanti, M. et al. Green inventions and greenhouse gas emission dynamics: a close examination of provincial Italian data. Environ Econ Policy Stud 18, 247–263 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10018-015-0126-1

Download citation

Keywords

  • CO2 emission
  • Technological change
  • Green patents
  • IPAT
  • Environmental performance

JEL Classification

  • Q 53
  • Q 55