1887

OECD Environment Working Papers

This series is designed to make available to a wider readership selected studies on environmental issues prepared for use within the OECD. Authorship is usually collective, but principal authors are named. The papers are generally available only in their original language English or French with a summary in the other if available.

English

Invention and International Diffusion of Water Conservation and Availability Technologies

Evidence from Patent Data

This paper identifies over 50 000 patents filed worldwide in various water-related adaptation technologies between 1990 and 2010, distinguishing between those related to water availability (supply) and water conservation (demand) technologies. The paper then analyses the innovation activity – including inventive activity by country and technology, international collaboration in technology development, and international diffusion of such water-related technologies. The results suggest that although innovation activity in water-related technologies has been increasing over the last two decades, this growth has been disproportionately concentrated on supply-side technologies. Moreover, most innovation worldwide occurs in countries with low or moderate vulnerability towards water scarcity. While this is a reflection of the fact that most developed economies do not face severe water stress, this result highlights the importance of international technology transfer and policies that facilitate broad diffusion of these technologies in water-stressed countries.

English

Keywords: innovation, climate change adaptation, water scarcity
JEL: Q55: Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics / Environmental Economics / Environmental Economics: Technological Innovation; O31: Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth / Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights / Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives; Q25: Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics / Renewable Resources and Conservation / Renewable Resources and Conservation: Water; O38: Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth / Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights / Technological Change: Government Policy; Q28: Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics / Renewable Resources and Conservation / Renewable Resources and Conservation: Government Policy; O3: Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth / Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights
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