Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Papers in Innovation Studies,
Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy

No 2015/42: Explaining differences in electric vehicle policies across countries: innovation vs. environmental policy rationale

Joeri H. Wesseling ()
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Joeri H. Wesseling: CIRCLE, Lund University

Abstract: Transition studies’ understanding of differences in public policy is limited due to its tendency to focus on single-country cases. This paper assesses differences in plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) policies expenditures, comprising RD&D subsidies, infrastructure investments and sales incentives, across 13 countries over the period 2008-2014. I explore three conditions that may influence these policy expenditures. Content and statistical analyses show that national PEV policies differed drastically across countries in intensity and orientation, ranging from a focus on supply-side innovation policy to a focus on demand-side environmental policy. The government’s role across national political economies only explain differences in PEV infrastructure investments, while the government’s EV diffusion targets for 2020 surprisingly do not correlate with any PEV policy. Economic interest in the car industry shows and explains why car countries focus their policy on technology development, and non-car countries on technology diffusion. These findings enhance the understanding of national policies in transitions.

Keywords: innovation policy; demand-side policy; geography of transition; industry support; varieties of capitalism; 2020 target

JEL-codes: H23; H31; O25; O38; Q58

18 pages, December 1, 2015

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