Establishing "Green Regionalism" Environmental Technology Generation across East Asia and Beyond

  • Shapiro, Matthew A. (Illinois Institute of Technology)
  • Published : 2014.10.31


This research paper advances our understanding of complex interdependence among countries. Existing research has found that total factor productivity (TFP), the residual from the economic growth function, is hindered in the absence of a country's strong political and legal institutions or if a country does not already have a sufficiently high level of TFP. We also know that regional efforts to eliminate pollution are complex. Bridging these two areas while focusing on a high polluting yet high innovating region, the following research questions are posed: Are Northeast Asian countries key collaborators in pursuit of green R&D? Are Northeast Asian countries collaborating extensively with each other? What are the implications for other regions' attempts to establish these kinds of relations? To answer the above questions, biofuels-related technology as defined in the International Patent Classification's "green inventory" of environmentally sound technologies is examined. Patent data is drawn from the USPTO and inventors' country origin as the unit of analysis. For the 1990-2013 period, the Northeast Asian countries are in the core of a small set of collaborating countries. There is evidence that their centrality has increased in recent years. Most importantly, East Asia is becoming a singular research hub in terms of biofuels-related R&D, offering a counter in the foreseeable future to the dominance of the American and European research network hubs.