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Determinants of technology transfer through the CDM: a within-country analysis for China

Matthias Weitzel (), Wan-Hsin Liu and Andrea Vaona

Climate Policy, 2015, vol. 15, issue 5, 626-646

Abstract: Technology transfer (TT) is not mandatory for Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects, yet proponents of CDM argue that TT in CDM can bring new technologies to developing countries and thus not only reduce emissions but also foster development. We review the quantitative literature on determinants of TT in CDM and estimate determinants for CDM projects in China. China is by far the largest host country of CDM projects and it is therefore crucial to understand the factors that drive TT there. To gain better interpretation, we focus on heterogeneity within a single country and results can thus be linked to specific policies of the country. Our probit estimations confirm previous international cross-country studies, indicating that larger projects and more advanced technologies are more likely to involve TT. In addition, we find evidence that agglomeration effects are more pronounced at the province level rather than larger regions. We also find a positive effect of foreign direct investment (FDI) on TT, and academic research and development (R&D) is complementary to TT. Policy relevance Technology transfer (TT) is a goal of Chinese CDM legislation, but it is not a prerequisite for project approval. Our estimations show the project specific, technological and region-specific features that encourage more TT among CDM projects. Some variables analysed such as R&D spending and FDI (both are found to have positive effects on TT) can be, to some extent, influenced by the policy-makers. Moreover, we find some evidence for the presence of negative agglomeration effects on the provincial level: the likelihood of TT is decreasing in the number of previous projects operating in the same technology and province. This finding needs to be interpreted with great caution. It may suggest the existence of a learning externality, which could serve as a justification for policy intervention. Any policy intervention requires however careful analysis of potential positive or negative externalities resulting from the agglomeration of CDM projects and a comparison of possible benefits with the costs of TT.

Date: 2015
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DOI: 10.1080/14693062.2014.954095

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