Technological pathways to low carbon: Differences between Europe and emerging Asia and implications for competitiveness

Tilman Altenburg, German Development Institute (DIE)

This presentation summarises key findings of a recently concluded 4-year research project with partner institutions in China, India and several European countries. Evolutionary theory suggests that technologies and institutions co-evolve along technological trajectories reflecting country-specific context. Given the differences between old industrialised countries of Europe (here: Germany, France, Denmark) and Asia's two large emerging economies in terms of technological sophistication, regulatory environment, purchasing power and population size, among others, we expect quite substantial differences between technological pathways. Moreover, we argue that low carbon technologies tend to diverge more than most other technologies because they largely depend on politically created markets, and low carbon policies vary greatly between the countries covered in our project. Looking at two groups of technologies - those related to electromobility and to wind power generation - we document how and why technological trajectories evolve differently and discuss whether trajectories are likely to converge or further diverge in the future, and how these developments may affect national competitiveness.

About the speaker
Tilman Altenburg is Head of the Department “Sustainable Economic and Social Development” at the German Development Institute/ Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), the government-funded think tank for development policy in Germany. Before joining DIE in 1995, Mr. Altenburg was a research fellow of the Latin American Institute of the Free University Berlin and the Philipps University Marburg. He received his doctorate in Economic Geography from the University of Hamburg, Germany in 1991. Since 1986 Mr. Altenburg has done empirical research on issues of economic development in Latin America, Asia and Africa, with a focus on competitiveness, industrial and innovation policy, SME promotion and value chain development. His main theme is how developing countries can design economic policies that enable them to improve their position in the global economy in a way that is socially inclusive. Currently, he is coordinating several international research projects on low carbon industrial policy in developing countries. Mr. Altenburg has published about 100 papers on these issues, and he is regularly working as an adviser to the German government and international development agencies.

Venue: Conference room (room 0.16 & 0.17)

Date: 10 March 2016

Time: 12:00 - 13:00