Marion Dumas will be discussing the paper, ‘Global Coordination Challenges in the Transition to Clean Technology: Lessons from the Automotive Industry’.


‘Significant progress in reconciling economic activities with environmental goals requires radical and rapid technological change in multiple sectors. Here we study the case of the automotive industry’s transition to electric vehicles. We argue that technological change in this industry poses a global and multi-sectoral coordination challenge due to technological complementarities and uncertainty. We empirically show that this challenge has been overcome: the industry’s innovation efforts have unambiguously shifted to green. We then show that the industry initially focused on fuel cell technologies, but that around 2008, the technological paradigm shifted to battery electric vehicles. We show that national-level policies had a limited ability to coordinate global players around a choice of clean technology. Instead, we find that spillovers from innovation in batteries outside of the automotive sector played a critical role in driving the industry’s shift to battery electric vehicles. We conclude with implications for accelerating low-carbon technological change in other global sectors and the renewed push to develop hydrogen and fuel cell technologies.’

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