Governance of Technological Transitions: Lessons from the Japanese Experience

Yarime, Masaru and Parto, Saeed (2005). Governance of Technological Transitions: Lessons from the Japanese Experience. UNU-MERIT Research Memoranda. UNU-MERIT.

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    Author Yarime, Masaru
    Parto, Saeed
    Title Governance of Technological Transitions: Lessons from the Japanese Experience
    Series Title UNU-MERIT Research Memoranda
    Volume/Issue No. 31
    Publication Date 2005
    Publisher UNU-MERIT
    Language eng
    Abstract The outbreak of the Minamata disease in 1956 started a process of transformation in the Japanese chlor-alkali industry. Since then the industry has undergone two significant technological transformations. The first was from the mercury-based process to the diaphragm process while the second was from the diaphragm process to the ion membrane process. The pressure on the industry to adopt the diaphragm process was not without its problems: the technology produced inferior quality product at higher cost and posed the risk of market share loss for the producers. The attempts by the government and industry to find an economically viable solution resulted in the adoption by the industry of the ion membrane process, a technology that was non-polluting, comparable to the mercury process in terms of costs, and produced high quality product. In this paper we examine the dynamics of this technological transformation to draw out and discuss generalizable implications for environmental policymaking. We elucidate the importance of collective learning and innovation in the policymaking process to address acute and complex socio-economic problems. In particular, we draw attention to the role of the main institutions through which this technological change was governed.
    UNU Topics of Focus Governance
    Keyword Technical change
    Policy learning
    JEL L52
    Copyright Year 2005
    Copyright type All rights reserved
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    Created: Fri, 13 Dec 2013, 12:38:38 JST