Working paper No. 295: An Econometric Analysis of Divergence of Renewable Energy Invention Efforts in Europe

PublicationWorking paper
Energi, EU, Företagandets villkor, Förnybar energi, Jonas Grafström, Patent


The objective of this paper is to investigate the presence of convergence (or divergence) of invention efforts per capita in the renewable energy field across European Union (EU) countries. Divergence may imply a risk of a lower level of goal fulfilment regarding the share of renewable energy in the EU energy mix. This is due to free-rider issues and sub-optimal investment levels, in turn making it more expensive and cumbersome to expand renewable energy production. Convergence suggests a possible faster renewable energy goal achievement. The econometric analysis is based on patent application counts per capita for 13 EU Member States over the time period 1990–2012. The methods used draw on the economic convergence literature. First, we rely on a panel data set to test for conditional β-convergence. Moreover, a distributional dynamics approach is employed to test for σ- and γ-convergence, and analyse the intra-distributional dynamics. The results indicate conditional β- and σ-divergence in renewable energy invention capabilities across the 13 countries, thus suggesting that some EU countries tend to free-ride on the development efforts of other Member States.

Grafström, J. (2017). An Econometric Analysis of Divergence of Renewable Energy Invention Efforts in Europe. Ratio Working Paper No. 295. Stockholm: Ratio.

Similar content

Government Support to Renewable Energy R&D: Drivers and Strategic Interactions among EU Member States
Article (in press)Publication
Grafström, J., Söderholm, P., Gawel, E., Lehmann, P., & Strunz, S.
Publication year



Although the climate challenge requires proactive policies that spur innovation in the renewable energy sector, various countries commit vastly different levels of support for renewable energy R&D. This paper addresses the question why this may be the case. Specifically, the objective is to analyse the determinants of government support to renewable energy R&D in the European Union (EU), and, in doing this, we devote particular attention to the question of whether the level of this support tends to converge or diverge across EU Member States. The investigation relies on a data set of 12 EU Member States and a bias-corrected dynamic panel data estimator. We test for the presence of conditional β-convergence, and the impacts of energy dependence and electricity regulation on government R&D efforts. The findings display divergence in terms of government support to renewable energy R&D, and this result is robust across various model specifications and key assumptions. The analysis also indicates that countries with a low energy-import dependence and deregulated electricity markets tend to experience lower growth rates in government renewable energy R&D. The paper ends by discussing some implications of the results, primarily from an EU perspective.

Municipally Owned Enterprises as Danger Zones for Corruption? How Politicians Having Feet in Two Camps May Undermine Conditions for Accountability
Article (with peer review)Publication
Bergh, A., Erlingsson, G., Gustafsson, A. & Wittberg, E.
Publication year


Published in

The market-inspired reforms of New Public Management have been particularly pronounced in Swedish local government. Notably, municipally owned enterprises (MOEs) have rapidly grown in numbers. Principal-agent theory gives rise to the hypothesis that the massive introduction of MOEs has impacted negatively on the conditions for accountability in Swedish local government. To study this, social network analysis was employed in mapping networks for 223 MOEs in 11 strategically chosen municipalities, covering a total of 732 politicians. The analysis reveals substantial overlaps between principals (representatives of the ultimate stakeholders, citizens) and agents (the boards of the MOEs). Hence, corporatization of public services seems to imply worrisome entanglements between the politicians who are set to steer, govern, and oversee MOEs on the one hand, and the board members of MOEs on the other. The increasing numbers of MOEs may therefore have adverse effects on accountability in important and growing parts of Swedish local government.

Show more