Spring 2023 - 60285 - PA 388K - Advanced Topics in Public Policy


How does technological change—the process of invention, innovation, diffusion, and replacement—in the energy industry enable societies to meet their energy needs? What is the role of policy in guiding technological change in certain directions that societies deem to be important (security; sustainability; climate)? Are market-based policies (taxes; price signals; subsidies/incentives, etc.) more efficient and effective than command-and-control policies (technology/emissions standards, etc.)? Are certain types of policies more effective in spurring innovation in energy technologies, while other types of policies are more effective for technology diffusion? How does consumer behavior mediate the effects of technological change and policies?

This course will examine the linkages between technological change, energy, and the environment described above, with a focus on how innovation and diffusion happen in the context of energy technologies, and on the role of policy.

The course will be organized around a collection of journal/review articles drawn from the technological change and energy literatures. The collection of articles will cover three subthemes: conceptual/analytical frameworks (innovation and diffusion; learning by doing; policy inducement; general purpose technologies; role of market structure; behavioral and institutional aspects; investment under uncertainty; and technological lock-in), methodologies (econometrics; simulation; and case studies), and energy technologies (solar PV; coal and carbon capture and storage; wind; LNG; nuclear power; oil and natural gas; energy efficiency; SO2 scrubbers; electric vehicles; and others). The emphasis will not be on the methodologies per se, but rather on the insights they provide in the context of their applications to the analytical frameworks and technologies.

Instruction Mode