Environmental regulation and the cross-border diffusion of new technology: Evidence from automobile patents

We examine the impact of environmental regulation on the international diffusion of new technology through the patent system. We employ a dataset of automobile emission standards between 1992 and 2007 and corresponding data on cross-border patent inflows of technologies developed to comply with these standards. Our analysis, based on a research design of country pair years, shows it is “regulatory distance” between countries rather than absolute regulatory stringency per se that matters for cross-border patent inflows: the flow of compliance technologies rises when regulatory standards in the inventor and the recipient countries become “closer”.

Antoine Dechezleprêtre, Eric Neumayer and Richard Perkins. In: Research Policy. Volume 44, Issue 1, February 2015, Pages 244–257.