Impact of Carbon Pricing on Low-Carbon Innovation and Deep Carbonisation: Controversies and Path Forward

Jeroen van den Bergh*, Ivan Savin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


There is an ongoing discussion about the effectiveness of carbon pricing, with a strong division between optimists and pessimists. A recent review study by Lilliestam, Patt and Bersalli (2020) of the impact of carbon pricing on low-carbon innovation and deep carbonization concludes that there is no evidence for such an impact. We evaluate this study and identify various shortcomings of it, which together cast strong doubts on its main conclusion. Instead, we conclude, based on the studies reviewed by the authors and additional, overlooked literature, that carbon pricing has had a small but positive and significant effect on low-carbon innovation. Our evaluation provides lessons for undertaking a systematic and objective review of research on this topic. Since the main goal of carbon pricing is changing choices by firms and consumers that affect carbon emissions, we also point the reader towards recent evidence for the broader effectiveness of carbon pricing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)705-715
JournalEnvironmental and Resource Economics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by European Research Council (ERC) Grant 741087 in EU-Horizon2020. I.S. acknowledges financial support from the Russian Science Foundation [RSF grant number 19-18-00262].

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Carbon tax
  • Emissions trading
  • Energy price
  • Induced innovation
  • Investment
  • Literature review


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