Debates abound regarding the link between trade and industrial policy and the adoption of sustainable energy technologies in developing countries. Some purport that open trade regimes support technology diffusion, while others indicate that more interventionist regimes are more conducive. This paper uses empirical evidence from Mexico City and São Paulo to argue that sustainable energy technology uptake can be more prevalent in settings with partially open trade policy regimes. These regimes have afforded countries more opportunities to develop local capabilities, which, in turn, has had knock-on effects on sustainable energy technology uptake. Specifically, having more local technology sources (equipment, expertise) brought quicker access to these technologies, created more perceptions of technology “ownership,” fostered more effective mobilization, and helped create well-established standards, which in turn contributed positively to sustainable energy technology uptake, while taxes and tariffs were less influential.

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Keywords sustainable energy technology, trade and industrial policies, urban Latin America
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Journal Review of Policy Research
Mallett, A. (2016). Trade and Industrial Policy as Levers for Sustainable Energy Technology Adoption? Experiences from Urban Latin America. Review of Policy Research, 33(4), 348–375. doi:10.1111/ropr.12183