Making green products mainstream : how to trigger radical industrial innovation ?
London School of Economics and Political Science
Tailoring policy interventions to trigger sector-wide energy transition
To provide this wealth of new insight, Dr. Dumas’s investigations will focus on two energy-intensive sectors in particular: the car industry and construction. More specifically, her case studies will focus on the development of electric cars in car manufacturing firms and on the introduction of green building technologies in the construction sector. "This choice is justified by the fact that transport and buildings comprise each about 30% of final energy consumption”, she reports. Furthermore, these two sectors vary in ways that are useful for this project. They display interesting variation both in terms of investments in technological change and industrial structure. Methodologically speaking, Dr. Dumas’s project will use a mixed approach that combines case studies, theoretical modeling and quantitative empirical analysis. In other words, she and her team will first engage in a detailed examination of both the car manufacturing and construction sectors, notably by conducting interviews with manufacturers and suppliers, especially the big ones like Bosch, Lafarge, Siemens, Dassault, as well as civil servants in the relevant ministries. In parallel, they will analyze the case material to extract generalizable causal mechanisms which will then be formalized into a model that explains investments in radical innovations. Finally, in the empirical analysis stage, they will develop an indicator to better measure radical technological change for the energy transition, and use it to run statistical models to test hypothesis about the role of industrial structure and public investment on the probability of patents with a high 'radical technological change' score. "These three methods strongly complement each other, she explains. The empirical analysis describes the variation to be explained by the model, the model highlights the causal structure in the case studies, the case studies help validate the measurements in the empirical analysis, etc." Her findings will then be translated into policy papers addressed to stakeholders, and business associations mainly in the United-Kingdom and Europe (her main impact targets) but also North America.
The project’s ultimate aim is to inform public policy interventions aimed at fostering change towards a more radical energy transition in both the car manufacturing and construction sectors. "Green products in these sectors are a niche, we need to make them mainstream, and to do that, we need to take into account the whole supply chain, understand who needs to be encouraged for everyone to get on board". Her policy papers on the challenges to electric vehicle innovation in the car manufacturing sector and to green building innovation in the construction sector will provide stakeholders with guidelines on how to design their industrial policies and break the deadlocks that inhibit radical structural change.
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