Technological disruptions in the energy sector

Ko, Yu-li
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Simons, Kenneth L.
Kantor, Shawn Everett
Sanderson, Susan Walsh
Yatsynovich, Yury
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Ecological economics
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Today’s climate change problems urgently call for technological disruptions in the energy sector. Three important issues in the energy sector are empirically studied in this thesis: innovators’ long-term incentives, the cross-border impact of demand-pull policies, and the energy paradox. The first paper describes the whole 60-year history of the photovoltaic industry to probe innovators’ long-term incentive problems for technological disruption. Since technological change and climate change are both long-term phenomena, it is important to understand innovators’ long-term incentives to achieve a technological disruption that helps mitigate climate change. The second paper is a detailed firm-level econometric study of a national industry reacting to foreign countries’ demand-pull policies. A quasi-experimental method is applied to a unique and confidential panel dataset, acquired from a Korean government research institute. The theme of the second paper is continuous from the first paper, but narrower geographically and temporally, and more detailed and quantitative. The third paper focuses on a classical topic of energy economics: the “energy paradox.” To investigate imperfect information on the consumer side, 103,003 web-scraped consumer review comments were analyzed. The three papers improve understanding of obstacles that deter fast transition to emerging technologies, and of how policy support can effectively aid technological disruptions.
May 2016
School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
Ecological Economics, Values, and Policy Program
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY
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