The Review of International Organizations

, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 81–109

External sources of clean technology: Evidence from the Clean Development Mechanism


DOI: 10.1007/s11558-012-9150-0

Cite this article as:
Bayer, P. & Urpelainen, J. Rev Int Organ (2013) 8: 81. doi:10.1007/s11558-012-9150-0


New technology is fundamental to sustainable development. However, inventors from industrialized countries often refuse technology transfer because they worry about reverse-engineering. When can clean technology transfer succeed? We develop a formal model of the political economy of North–South technology transfer. According to the model, technology transfer is possible if (1) the technology in focus has limited global commercial potential or (2) the host developing country does not have the capacity to absorb new technologies for commercial use. If both conditions fail, inventors from industrialized countries worry about the adverse competitiveness effects of reverse-engineering, so technology transfer fails. Data analysis of technology transfer in 4,894 projects implemented under the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism during the 2004–2010 period provides evidence in support of the model.


Technology transfer Political economy Clean Development Mechanism 

JEL Classification

D02 F55 O33 Q54 Q56 

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Economic and Social SciencesUniversity of MannheimMannheimGermany
  2. 2.Department of Political ScienceColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

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