NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Antoine Dechezlepretre

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Working Papers

December 2012Carbon Taxes, Path Dependency and Directed Technical Change: Evidence from the Auto Industry
with Philippe Aghion, David Hemous, Ralf Martin, John Van Reenen: w18596
Can directed technical change be used to combat climate change? We construct new firm-level panel data on auto industry innovation distinguishing between "dirty" (internal combustion engine) and "clean" (e.g. electric and hybrid) patents across 80 countries over several decades. We show that firms tend to innovate relatively more in clean technologies when they face higher tax-inclusive fuel prices. Furthermore, there is path dependence in the type of innovation both from aggregate spillovers and from the firm's own innovation history. Using our model we simulate the increases in carbon taxes needed to allow clean to overtake dirty technologies.

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