Should environmental R&D be prioritized?
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionResource and Energy Economics. 2020, 60, (1-12). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.reseneeco.2019.101132
An innovator may not be able to capture the full social benefit of her innovation and, therefore, governments support private R&D through various measures. We compare a market good innovation—to develop a more efficient technology to produce a standard market good—with an environmental innovation—to develop a more efficient abatement technology—that has the same potential to increase the social surplus. In the first-best outcome, which can be achieved by offering an R&D subsidy and a diffusion subsidy, the R&D subsidy should be greatest for an environmental innovation, whereas the diffusion subsidy should be greatest for a market good innovation. The ranking of the two types of subsidies reflects that the appropriability problem is greater for an environmental innovation than for a market good innovation.