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NBER Working Papers and Publications
|July 2015||Should We Give Up After Solyndra? Optimal Technology R&D Portfolios under Uncertainty|
with Mort Webster, Karen Fisher-Vanden, David Popp: w21396
Global climate change and other environmental challenges require the development of new energy technologies with lower emissions. In the near-term, R&D investments, either by government or the private sector, can bring down the costs of these lower emission technologies. However, the results of R&D are uncertain, and there are many potential technologies that may turn out to play an effective role in the future energy mix. In this paper, we address the problem of allocating R&D across technologies under uncertainty. Specifically, given two technologies, one with lower costs at present, but the other with greater uncertainty in the returns to R&D, how should one allocate the R&D budget? We develop a multi-stage stochastic dynamic programming version of an integrated assessment model of...
Published: Mort Webster & Karen Fisher-Vanden & David Popp & Nidhi Santen, 2017. "Should We Give Up after Solyndra? Optimal Technology R&D Portfolios under Uncertainty," Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol 4(S1), pages S123-S151.
|December 2014||Inter-temporal R&D and Capital Investment Portfolios for the Electricity Industry’s Low Carbon Future|
with Mort D. Webster, David Popp, Ignacio Pérez-Arriaga: w20783
This paper explores cost-effective low-carbon R&D and capital investment portfolios for the electricity generation sector through 2060. We present a novel method for long-term planning by combining an economic model of endogenous non-linear technical change and a generation capacity planning model with key features of the electricity system. The model captures the complementary nature of technologies in the power sector; physical integration constraints; and the opportunity to build new knowledge capital as a non-linear function of R&D and accumulated knowledge, which reflects the diminishing marginal returns to research characteristic of the energy innovation process. We show portfolios for future scenarios with and without carbon emission limits, and demonstrate the importance of incl...
|January 2012||Technology Variation vs. R&D Uncertainty: What Matters Most for Energy Patent Success?|
with David Popp, Karen Fisher-Vanden, Mort Webster: w17792
R&D is an uncertain activity with highly skewed outcomes. Nonetheless, most recent empirical studies and modeling estimates of the potential of technological change focus on the average returns to research and development (R&D) for a composite technology and contain little or no information about the distribution of returns to R&D--which could be important for capturing the range of costs associated with climate change mitigation policies--by individual technologies. Through an empirical study of patent citation data, this paper adds to the literature on returns to energy R&D by focusing on the behavior of the most successful innovations for six energy technologies, allowing us to determine whether uncertainty or differences in technologies matter most for success. We highlight two key ...
Published: David Popp & Nidhi Santen & Karen Fisher-Vanden & Mort Webster, 2013. "Technology variation vs. R&D uncertainty: What matters most for energy patent success?," Resource and Energy Economics, vol 35(4), pages 505-533.