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Grantee Research Project Results

NCER Grantee Research Project Results

A New Approach To Measuring Technological Progress To Better Inform Climate Policy

EPA Grant Number: FP917158
Title: A New Approach To Measuring Technological Progress To Better Inform Climate Policy
Investigators: Hlavka, Eileen Rose
Institution: Pardee RAND Graduate School
EPA Project Officer: Zambrana, Jose
Project Period: August 25, 2010 through July 31, 2013
Project Amount: $111,000
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2010)
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Fellowship - Science & Technology for Sustainability: Environmental Behavior & Decision Making

Description:

Objective:

This research will measure how government subsidies have or have not affected the rate of early research on renewable electricity technologies over the past few decades. The number of journal articles published on a given technology will be used as a measure of the rate of research, using novel text analysis methods to categorize the journal articles.

Synopsis
In addition to conservation, improving technology holds promise for reducing greenhouse gases and thus climate change. This research implements a new measure of the rate of research on solar and wind electricity—counting research articles—and compares it with subsidies for those electricity sources over time. The results will show whether subsidies or other pricing policies may suffice to encourage the amount of technological change desired or whether additional policies are required.

Approach:

The rate of published research on wind and solar electricity will be compared with government subsidies over time. First, the measure of rate of research will be constructed by using semi-automated text analysis to categorize hundreds of thousands of articles matching relevant keywords. Second, econometric time series methods will be used to compare these articles’ publication dates with government subsidies and other factors. The results will be interpreted in terms of their implications for the effects of government subsidies on technological research as well as for future policy-related work using text analysis.

Expected Results:

The rate of published research on wind and solar electricity will be compared with government subsidies over time. First, the measure of rate of research will be constructed by using semi-automated text analysis to categorize hundreds of thousands of articles matching relevant keywords. Second, econometric time series methods will be used to compare these articles’ publication dates with government subsidies and other factors. The results will be interpreted in terms of their implications for the effects of government subsidies on technological research as well as for future policy-related work using text analysis.

Potential to Further Environmental/Human Health Protection
Advances in wind and solar electricity technology may make it possible to reduce greenhouse gas emissions more cheaply, thus making it easier to meet emission targets and reduce climate change. This research will help in identifying what role subsidies or other price-based policies can play in fostering early research towards such technological advances.

Supplemental Keywords:

climate change, technology, renewable energy, wind, solar, measurement, text analysis, subsidies, policy,

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The perspectives, information and conclusions conveyed in research project abstracts, progress reports, final reports, journal abstracts and journal publications convey the viewpoints of the principal investigator and may not represent the views and policies of ORD and EPA. Conclusions drawn by the principal investigators have not been reviewed by the Agency.

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