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.
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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.
An extensive discussion of the use of patents as an indicator of innovative activity is provided in Sect. 2.
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.
See, for reference, OECD (2011) and other works by the OECD environmental directorate.
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.
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.
An F test, not included for sake of brevity, rejects the null hypothesis that the two coefficients are significant across the two samples.
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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.
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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
- CO2 emission
- Technological change
- Green patents
- Environmental performance
- Q 53
- Q 55