Explaining differences in sub-national patterns of clean technology transfer to China and India

  • Patrick Bayer
  • Johannes Urpelainen
  • Alice Xu
Original Paper


The Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) has the capacity to incentivize the international transfer of environmentally sound technologies. Given that both countries are expected to have similar incentives when managing the distribution of technology transfer within the country, why do sub-national patterns in the allocation of projects with technology transfer differ? Using comparable political–economic data compiled for China and India, we offer an explanation for these differences. In China, where the government regards the CDM as a tool for achieving sustainable development, technology transfer is concentrated in provinces that need it the most and that are most conducive to receiving transfers (i.e., economically less developed, yet heavily industrialized provinces). In India, where the government takes on a “laissez-faire” approach to the CDM, neither level of economic development nor that of industrialization affects clean technology transfer. In this regard, although the incentives are similar, the capacity to pursue them is not comparable. We test these hypotheses using data on CDM technology transfer across Chinese provinces and Indian states during the 6-year period from 2004 to 2010.


Technology transfer CDM  China India  Sustainable development  Subnational variation 



This article was written during a research stay funded by an ERP fellowship of the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes. Patrick Bayer gratefully acknowledges this generous funding and is thankful for the hospitality of Columbia University. He is also thankful for a postdoctoral fellowship at Washington University in St. Louis from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). We thank Valerie Pinkerton and Sung Eun Kim for comments on a previous draft.

Supplementary material

10784_2014_9257_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (87 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (pdf 86 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political Science, Program in International and Area StudiesWashington University in St. LouisSt. LouisUSA
  2. 2.Department of Political ScienceColumbia UniversityNew York CityUSA
  3. 3.Department of GovernmentHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA

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