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Doctoral thesis2023Open access

Pollution, green innovation, and firms

Karpaty, Polina


This thesis comprises three empirical studies centred around the theme of cleaning up production. All essays focus on the producers’ side, as their behaviour can have a significant impact not only on labour conditions and overall social welfare but also on the environment and climate change.

The first paper in this thesis identifies and quantifies the main channels for reducing air pollution emissions from the manufacturing sector in Sweden. The results show that the main driver of declining emissions between 2007 and 2017 was improvements in emission intensities, while the composition of output actually shifted towards more pollution-intensive goods.

The second and third papers focus on green innovation and its determinants at the level of individual firms. The second paper presents a set of stylised facts about clean technology innovators in Sweden and their key firm and industry characteristics. The main finding is that patents in clean technologies by Swedish firms tend to be dominated by larger and more established firms compared to other types of patents. A simple model of innovation and firm size, proposed in the paper, suggests a mechanism that helps to explain the patterns observed in the data.

The third paper examines the impact of competition with imports of equipment for renewable energy (e.g., solar PV panels and cells or wind turbines) from China on innovation in the European Union. The results show that firms facing higher competition with imports from China substantially reduced their rate of patenting between 2005 and 2017. The adverse effect was larger for firms that patent more frequently. Furthermore, the growth in Chinese import competition reduced the likelihood of applying for a patent in the renewable energy sector.


air pollutionL; green innovation; patents; import competition; manufacturing; firms

Published in

Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
2023, number: 2023:47
ISBN: 978-91-8046-146-7, eISBN: 978-91-8046-147-4
Publisher: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Social Sciences Interdisciplinary

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