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Technology adoption, cooperation and trade and competitiveness policies: Re-examining the uptake of renewable energy technologies (RETs) in urban Latin America using systemic approaches.

Mallett, Alexandra (2009) Technology adoption, cooperation and trade and competitiveness policies: Re-examining the uptake of renewable energy technologies (RETs) in urban Latin America using systemic approaches. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science (United Kingdom).

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Abstract

Many conventional approaches to Renewable Energy Technology (RET) adoption in developing countries generally stress economic and technical factors; often relying on rural contexts. Systemic approaches are an alternative lens, attempting to include social and economic factors at various scales, but to date there is little evidence supporting their application. Based on empirical analysis in Mexico and Brazil, this thesis asks: What are the most important factors affecting RET adoption in the urban developing world. Insights were explained using three systemic approaches on RET adoption at the meso-level. While systemic approaches are useful in highlighting larger social and policy trends, they are not without their limitations; rather, history and context are important. Specifically, awareness of energy conservation in combination with previous experience (versus just awareness) also affects technology uptake. Moreover, longer established networks were seen to be more institutionalized, with knock-on affects on RET use. Dynamics within stakeholder groups were also observed to help explain RET adoption. One source of divisions was trade and competitiveness policies, where in Mexico there is a major divide between foreign and domestically-owned firms. International influences (e.g. climate change) have also prompted networks in both places - but in Brazil, over time, the key drivers for action on climate change were domestic verses foreign. These facets are arguably happening as a result of Brazil's trade and competitiveness approach which yielded more opportunities for developing technological capabilities, therefore positively impacting on RET uptake. Although research is recent, the general consensus is that trade liberalization can lead to more RET use in developing countries. However, the findings of this study show that under certain conditions a provisionally open trade and competitiveness regime can also increase RET use. This is because technology use is also linked to local technology cooperation dynamics, and not just to trade and competitiveness policies.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Economics, Environmental, Alternative Energy, Latin American Studies
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/2061

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