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Innovations for reaching the green sustainable development goals - where will they come from?

: Walz, Rainer; Pfaff, Matthias; Marscheider-Weidemann, Frank; Glöser-Chahoud, Simon

Volltext urn:nbn:de:0011-n-4613704 (1.0 MByte PDF)
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Erstellt am: 9.8.2017

International economics and economic policy 14 (2017), Nr.3, S.449-480
ISSN: 1612-4804
Zeitschriftenaufsatz, Elektronische Publikation
Fraunhofer ISI ()
sustainable development goal; innovation indicator; green patent; green export; market segmentation

Reaching the sustainable development goals needs innovations. This paper addresses the dynamics of green energy and resource efficiency innovations, and looks at the positioning of countries from the North and emerging economies. We use indicators for both general innovation capabilities and specific green technology capabilities. Data on general innovation capabilities reveal that the traditional OECD countries, by and large, still possess advantages compared to Newly Industrializing Countries (NICs). Literature and Patent indicators reveal that the innovation dynamics are particularly high for publications. Literature and exports indicators reveal that the South has been catching up substantially. With regard to patents, some countries of the South are catching up, but the North is still cleary leading. A detailed analysis of co-patenting and country-to-country trade data reveals a more differentiated picture: Leading countries from Europe such as Germany as still specializing on serving the markets of traditional OECD countries. Japan and Korea are very reluctant with regard to co-patenting, but specialize in exporting to China. South-South trade in green technologies is the fastest growing market segment. However, countries of the South are pursuing a differentiated strategy: Mexico is highly integrated into the US economy. Singapore and South Korea have been catching up and provide technologies especially for China. China itself is following a double strategy, with absorbing technology from the North in order to compete on markets of the North on the one hand, but increasingly specializing on becoming lead supplier for countries of the South on the other hand. The other technology providers from the South are mainly specializing in supplying other countries from the South. Thus, a segmentation of the market is likely, with green sustainability innovations in the South more likely originating in the South as well, and China being an important country to adapt knowledge from the North to the needs of the South.