Asbestos, leaded petrol, and other aberrations: Comparing countries’ regulatory responses to disapproved products and technologies

Prof. Alex Coad, CENTRUM-Católica Graduate Business School

Industrial innovation churns out increasingly unnatural products and technologies, and often it is assumed that they are not toxic and are easily broken down in the environment. However, uncertainty surrounds these new products and technologies, although the evidence base evolves, and in some cases their toxicity eventually becomes indisputable. We argue that a quick regulatory response to the discovery that certain innovations are harmful is an important indicator for evaluating the performance of an innovation system. Using a unique hand-collected dataset, we explore the temporal geography of regulatory responses as evidenced by the years in which countries introduce bans against leaded petrol, asbestos, DDT and smoking in public places, as well as introducing the driver’s seatbelt obligation. The best predictor of an early ban is a country’s score according to the World Bank’s Worldwide Governance Indicators. A country’s level of innovative activity, as predicted by the number of patents per capita, never has a significant influence. (Log of) GDP per capita has no strong role in predicting bans. There is large variation across countries, however, and an early introduction of one ban is not strongly related to the relative performance in regards to another ban, which raises possible questions about the coherence of regulatory responses across different threats. 

About the speaker

Alex Coad is Professor at CENTRUM-Católica Graduate Business School (Lima, Peru), and is interested in the areas of firm-level R&D investment, firm performance, entrepreneurship, strategy, and innovation policy. Alex has published over 70 articles in international peer-reviewed journals, such as Economica, Journal of Business Venturing, Research Policy, Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Industrial and Corporate Change, and Economics Letters. According to google-scholar, Alex has over 6000 citations and an H-index of 36. Alex is Editor at the journals 'Research Policy' (Financial Times Top 50 list of journals for Business Schools) and 'Small Business Economics', and Associate Editor for 'Industrial and Corporate Change' (Oxford University Press). Previously Alex obtained a PhD from Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and the Sant'Anna School, Pisa, Italy, and held academic positions at the Max Planck Institute (Jena, DE), Aalborg University (Denmark), and SPRU (Univ. Sussex, UK), before being an Economic Analyst at the European Commission (IRI group, JRC-IPTS, Sevilla). In December 2016, Alex received the 2016 Nelson Prize at University of California Berkeley.

Venue: 0.16/0.17

Date: 13 May 2019

Time: 12:00 - 13:00