KDI School News

Get to Know the New Professor

Portfolio Sept. 2022 Updated

About me

Dr. Yeong Jae Kim

- Assistant Professor at KDI School of Public Policy and Management
- Affiliated Scientist at RFF-CMCC European Institute on Economics and the Environment (EIEE)
The CMCC Foundation – Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change, in partnership with Resources for the Future (RFF), the energy and environmental economics think tank based in Washington DC, launched the European Institute on Economics and the Environment (EIEE). I held a visiting professor position at KAIST College of Business in 2021.
More About me

Research Interests

Environmental Economics
Economics of Innovation
Energy Policy
Behavioral Economics
Applied Microeconometrics

Upcoming Presentations

Podcast : Greta's Generation
ECEMP 2022 Conference
KDI School-World Bank DIME Conference 2022

Academic Services

Guest Editor: PLOS ONE
Draft of the Working Group III IPCC Sixth Assessment Report; Energy Economics; The Energy Journal; Environmental Research Letters; Energy Efficiency; Energy Policy; Economics of Innovation and New Technology; Environment, Development and Sustainability; Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment; Journal of Cleaner Production; International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health; Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews; Sustainability; Journal of Energy Engineering


- Publications -

Kim, Y. J., Soh, M., & Cho, S.-H. (2022). Identifying optimal financial budget distributions for the low-carbon energy transition between emerging and developed countries. Applied Energy, 326, 119967.

Kim, Y. J. (2022). The countervailing effects of stocks of knowledge on low-carbon innovation through international collaboration. Energy Policy, 170, 113217.

Kim, Y. J., Cho, S.-H., & Sharma, B. P. (2021). Constructing efficient portfolios of low-carbon technologies. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 150, 111515.

Hyun, M., Kim, Y. J., & Eom, J. (2020). Assessing the impact of a demand-resource bidding market on an electricity generation portfolio and the environment. Energy Policy, 147, 111918.

Kim, Y. J., & Wilson, C. (2019). Analysing Energy Innovation Portfolios from a Systemic Perspective. Energy Policy, 134 (2019) 110942.

Kim, Y. J., & Wilson, C. (2019). Analysing Future Change in the EU’s Energy Innovation System. Energy Strategy Reviews, 24C (2019) pp. 279-299.

Kim, Y. J., & Brown, M. A. (2019). The impact of domestic energy-efficiency policies on foreign innovation: the case of lighting technologies. Energy Policy, 128, 539-552.

Kim, Y. J., Husbands Fealing, K., & Klochikhin, E. (2018). Patenting activity in the food safety sector. World Patent Information, 55, 27-36.

Brown, M. A., Baer, P., Cox, M., & Kim, Y. J. (2014). Evaluating the risks of alternative energy policies: a case study of industrial energy efficiency. Energy Efficiency, 7(1), 1-22.

- Under Review -

The air quality effects of Uber (with Luis Sarmiento)

Feasibility trade-offs in decarbonisation of power sector with high coal dependence: A case of Korea (with Jiyong Eom, Minwoo Hyun, Jessica Jewell, and Aleh Cherp)

  • International and intertemporal knowledge spillovers in carbon-free and carbon-efficient technologies (with Elena Verdolini)
    • A rich literature testifies the important roleplayed by knowledge spillovers: previous knowledge, both domestic and foreign, allows inventors to “stand on the shoulders of the giants” and to promotefurther innovation. This paper contributes to the literature on knowledgespillovers in low-carbon innovation in two main ways. First, we update theestimation of the role played by geographical, linguistic, economic andtechnological barriers to bilateral knowledge flows for carbon-free andcarbon-efficient technologies in a sample of 29 countries, including key (fast-)developing countries. In doing so, we highlight the main differences acrossthese two groups of technologies. Second, we use our results to generateknowledge diffusion parameters for our sample. These can be fruitfully employedto improve the modelling of innovation dynamics in large integrated assessmentmodels used to generate decarbonisation pathways.
  • Environmental policies and embodied emissions exports and imports (with Elena Verdolini and Laura Bonacorsi)
    • In the absence of a global greenhouse gas reduction mechanism, the EU adopted the strongest climate mitigation policy in the world. As a result of this, there are concerns about the challenges faced by EU carbon-intensive and trade-exposed countries and industries as well as regarding the effective contribution of EU climate policies to GHG emission reductions. On the one hand, competitiveness may be harmed due to the unilateral nature of climate mitigation policy and the impact this can have on trade flows and balances. On the other hand, European demand for foreign carbon-intensive good may increase, potentially offsetting any emission reduction efforts. In this initial analysis, we assess whether and how embodied emissions in traded goods have changed over time, particularly in response to the implementation of climate mitigation policies. Our analysis provides insights both at the country level and at the sector level. We find evidence that stringent environmental policies are associated with lower exported emissions and emissions intensity, but mixed evidence on their effects on imported emissions and imported emissions intensity. Overall, we do not find conclusive evidence supporting the pollution haven hypothesis.
  • Local and Global Experience Curves for Lumpy and Granular Energy Technologies (with Donghyun Choi )
    • Current electricity generation systems have been dominated by lumpy energy technologies (e.g., coal-fired and nuclear plants) because the electricity they create has been cheaper than that generated from granular technologies (e.g., solar and wind). Accelerating the development and deployment of low-carbon technologies to mitigate climate change will require better understanding how lumpy and granular technological innovations work to reduce domestic and foreign technology costs. We estimated one-factor and two-factor learning experience curves to identify drivers and assess the relative importance of local and global learning experiences in Korea’s climate change mitigation efforts. The results suggest that lumpy technologies are becoming increasingly unprofitable, while granular technologies are likely to play a key role in mitigating climate change due to a rapid decline in its cost. Further tapping the local potential of cost reduction in granular technologies will require decreasing the soft costs of solar technologies and increasing wind power plant installations. The results also suggest that knowledge spillover is relatively limited and slow for lumpy technologies, but frequent and fast for granular technologies. To maximise the spillover of global learning to local innovators, policy makers should improve absorptive capacity of a country and strengthen the global network ties of local firms.
  • Green Growth Policy Inputs and Outputs: A Machine-Aided Analysis of G-7 Countries (with Kyle Herman , Soheil Shayegh, and Jun Xiang)
    • Green growth policies have been developed to co-address climate change and economic growth, and especially, to overcome the economic challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite being on the top of policy agenda in many countries, little quantitative analysis has been conducted on green growth policy inputs and respective economic and environmental outputs. To address this gap, we provide a classification of green growth data from the member countries of G7 group through a machine-automated K-means clustering analysis, followed by a correlation analysis with an eye on finding green growth ‘win-wins’--or environmental and economic benefits of green growth policy inputs. Our results show that environmental tax policies, at the aggregated level, are more associated with first-order energy and emission outputs and, to a lesser degree, with second-order economic productivity. However, the results vary greatly at the country level. One unexpected finding is that, despite being the most advanced economies, the G-7 countries still lack high quality, time-series data for measuring green growth policy inputs and outputs. Nevertheless, our proposed framework could be used for helping to ameliorate such data issues, to develop more robust green growth policy mixes, and to generate meaningful collaboration across countries, including for the ‘build back better’ green growth initiative recently announced by leaders of G-7 countries.
  • How open are African inventors? Open green technologies and patenting activities in Africa (with Maruf Sanni)
    • Open green innovation is essential to accelerate decarbonisation in Africa. The dearth of empirical evidence on the current trajectory of green innovation in Africa often hinders the design of appropriate green innovation policy. This study investigates incidence of collaboration in inventive activities within Africa using the “designation of the inventor” in the online European Patent database. Using explorative and network analysis techniques, we identify and assess open and closed climate adaptation and mitigation inventions. We find that the number of green inventions is slightly increasing, but there are very few collaborative open green inventions in Africa as many of the inventions are closed. These results accentuate the case of fragmented national innovation systems in many of the African countries. The lack of collaboration and disconnect between the universities and firms shows most knowledge institutions in Africa have not evolved into vibrant sources of firm learning for national economic development.
  • Responsiveness of scientific research systems to covid-19 pandemic: an empirical study at the country-level (with Taehyun Jung)
    • COVID-19, spreading rapidly worldwide since January 2020, profoundly affected all aspects of economic and social systems. The science and technology research community played a significant role in developing a scientific solution to this calamity. While the extant literature discusses how science and innovation systems can contribute to the resilient recovery of socio-ecological and regional systems, it overlooked how resilient scientific research systems are and what makes them different. Using early academic responses to the COVID-19 pandemic as an empirical setup, we examine the factors affecting the heterogeneous responsiveness among countries. After examining the issue salience, specific and related capability, and overall resources, we found that the already-established research capability in the directly relevant area increases the responsiveness. Issue salience showed mixed results. Most importantly, we found that Korea is far behind other countries, notably Italy, regarding COVID-19 research quantity and quality, indicating that something internal to each scientific research system made a bifurcation in the scientific responsiveness to the COVID-19. We conclude the paper by discussing possible mechanisms underlying this heterogeneous responsiveness from system resilience and open innovation perspectives and provide some policy implications.
  • Generalisable technology-specific indicators for analysing energy technology innovation systems
    • To better coordinate energy innovation efforts and to effectively mobilise resources, a systemic perspective on energy innovation is required. Traditionally, researchers have examined a quantitative cross-country analysis and a qualitative analysis of technology. For example, the National Innovation System literature has identified standardised quantitative indicators for measuring national or country performance, whereas the Technology Innovation Systems approach is strong in theory and case-study analysis using bespoke indicators. However, there is currently no generalisable set of quantitative indicators for comparatively measuring technological innovation system performance. To fill this gap, we provide generalisable and replicable indicators for measuring technological innovation systems. We designed a comprehensive set of technology-specific indicators for innovation system processes. The exhaustive list technology-specific indicators can be used broadly in innovation system research communities to improve and to modify indicators to assess the processes and performance of energy innovation systems. To demonstrate the usefulness of this exhaustive list of technology-specific indicators, we suggest three applications: (1) tracking changes over time; (2) characterising innovation portfolio; and (3) analysing causal relationships. The proposed set of technology-specific indicators enables a more holistic assessment of energy technology innovation processes and performances.
  • Electricity awareness, peer effects, and the adoption of energy efficient lighting technologies (with Jungbae Lee)

- Work in Progress -

Cross-sectoral spillovers of clean energy technologies (with Elena Verdolini, Panagiotis Fragkos, and Leonidas Paroussos)

Endogenous R&D on clean energy technologies in WITCH model (with Elena Verdolini, Lara Aleluia Reis)

The effects of technological diversification and international collaboration on low-carbon innovation in Africa (with Maruf Sanni)

The emergence of digital energy firms (with Elena Verdolini)

Digitalization signal and corporate valuation (with Francesco Granella and Soheil Shayegh)

The impacts of temperature exposures on innovation (with Jiyong Eom)

From linear to circular: the “green growth’’ effects of redirecting money flows from brown resource imports towards green investments in resource-poor economies (with Darius Corbier)

The anticipation effects of oil prices on the circular economy pathway : an empirical application to East-Asian resource-poor countries (with Darius Corbier)

- Data Release -

Energy Innovation Indicators


- Primary Instructor -

Environmental and Climate Change Policy, KDI School, 09/2022
Stat Summer Prep, KAIST Graduate School of Green Growth, 08/2022
Stat Summer Prep & Energy and Climate Data Analysis, KAIST Graduate School of Green Growth, 08/2020
Math and Stat Summer Prep, Georgia Tech, 08/2016

- Teaching Assistant -

PUBP8211: Microeconomics for Public Policy (Dr. Matej Drev) 01/2014-05/2014
ECON8007: Microeconomics for Public Policy (Dr. Omer Baris) 01/2013-05/2013
PUBP6116: Microeconomics Policy Analysis (Instructor: JianWang) 08/2012-12/2012
PUBP8211: Microeconomics Theory (Dr. Doug Noonan) 01/2012-05/2012
POL1101: Government of the U.S. (Dr. Julia Melkers) 08/2011-12/2011
AGEC440: Agribusiness Strategic Analysis (Dr. Desmond Ng) 09/2010-12/2010
AGEC314: Marketing Agricultural Products (Dr. S. Dharmasena) 06/2010-08/2010
AGEC603: Land Economics (Dr. David Newburn) 01/2010-05/2010

- Collaboration with students -

Trudie Dockerty, Thanh Doan, and Rhosanna Jenkins (University of East Anglia)
Minwoo Hyun (KAIST & University of California - Santa Barbara)
Donghyun Choi (KAIST & Georgia Institute of Technology)
Jintae Kim (KAIST & Seoul National University)
Moonwon Soh (University of Florida)
Jung Bae Lee (Hanyang University & KETEP)
Daewu Ju (Bayes Business School: formerly Cass)

Contact Me

Please feel free to email me any time for any questions or my research areas.