January 2018

This working paper examines the effect of intellectual property rights protection on the two main channels of international transfer of low-carbon technologies, namely trade in low-carbon capital goods, and foreign direct investments by firms producing low-carbon technologies. The data used describes cross-country transfer through these channels between developing and developed countries in eight climate-related technology fields from 2001 to 2011. At the world level, strengthening intellectual property rights protection increases transfer in six technology fields (hydro power, solar PV, solar thermal, heating, lighting, and cleaner vehicles), while the effect is statistically insignificant in the others. The results slightly change when focusing on non-OECD countries. In particular, a stricter intellectual property rights regime may reduce their imports of solar equipment. These results have important implications for climate negotiations on North-South technology transfer. 


Damien Dussaux, MINES ParisTech
Antoine Dechezleprêtre, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment
Matthieu Glachant, MINES ParisTech


The Clean Economy Working Paper Series disseminates findings of ongoing environmental and clean economy work conducted by researchers from a range of disciplines. These working papers are meant to make results of relevant scholarly work available in a preliminary form. Although these papers have not undergone a peer-reviewed process, they meet general standards of scholarly excellence. The views expressed in these working papers are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Smart Prosperity Institute.