Accounting for quality: Issues with modeling the impact of R&D on economic growth and carbon emissions in developing economies

Karen Fisher-Vanden, Ian Sue Wing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations

Abstract

The literature on climate policy modeling has paid scant attention to the important role that R&D is already playing in industrializing countries such as China, where R&D investments are targeting not only productivity improvements but also enhancements in the quality and variety of products. We focus here on the effects of quality-enhancing innovation on energy use and GHG emissions in developing countries. We construct an analytical model to show that efficiency-improving and quality-enhancing R&D have opposing influences on energy and emission intensities, with the efficiency-improving R&D having an attenuating effect and quality-enhancing R&D having an amplifying effect. We find that the balance of these opposing forces depends on the elasticity of upstream output with respect to efficiency-improving R&D, the elasticity of downstream output with respect to upstream quality-enhancing R&D occurring upstream, and the relative shares of emissions-intensive inputs in the costs of production of upstream versus downstream industries. We employ a computable general equilibrium (CGE) simulation of the Chinese economy to illustrate the difficulties that arise in incorporating these results into models for climate policy analysis, and we offer a simple remedy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2771-2784
Number of pages14
JournalEnergy Economics
Volume30
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Energy(all)

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