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Mr. Gabe Chan
Sustainability Science Program
Kennedy School of Government
79 JFK Street
Cambridge, MA 02138 USA
Office: 503 Rubenstein Building
Tel: (1) 617-384-5737
Group affiliation: Doctoral Research Fellow in Sustainability Science
Gabe Chan is a joint Doctoral Research Fellow in the Sustainability Science Program and the Energy Technology Innovation Policy project, a joint project of the Science Technology and Public Policy Program and the Environment and Natural Resources Program at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. He is a doctoral candidate in the Public Policy Program at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. His research focuses on innovation economics and policy in the energy sector using quantitative social science methodology. His interests lie in the interaction of government policy with radical technical change as well as in developing and applying cutting-edge statistical methodology to the classic empirical questions in innovation economics, such as the estimation of cross-industry technological spillovers. Gabe is contributing to collaborative work with the Initiative on Innovation and Access to Technologies for Sustainable Development’s led by William Clark. He worked as a Research Assistant on the Energy Research, Development, Demonstration, and Deployment project. Gabe graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he received Bachelor of Science in Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Science and Political Science (2009). Gabe worked at the U.S. Department of Energy in the Climate Change Technology Program, an interagency group tasked with prioritizing the federal government’s investments and policies for mitigating climate change through accelerated technology innovation and deployment (2007, 2009). Gabe is a recipient of the Giorgio Ruffolo Fellowship (2011), Vicki Norberg Bohm Fellowship (2010), a Pre-Doctoral Research Fellow in the Harvard Environmental Economics Program, and a member of the Harvard Graduate Consortium on Energy and the Environment. His faculty hosts are William Clark and Venkatesh Narayanamurti.
Evaluating institutions for innovation
This project seeks to evaluate energy and environmental innovation in different institutional arrangements (e.g., universities, national labs, and corporate R&D labs). It uses patent data from energy and environmental technologies to estimate the effect of an innovating institution on subsequent innovation and technology deployment. Evaluating an institution’s innovation effort is made difficult because the research scope of institutions often have partial but not complete overlap with each other, implying that innovation arising from one institution can be compared to only a very carefully selected subset of other innovations. The key challenge of this research will be to identify the most appropriate patents for comparison so that the differences in the effect of institutions on subsequent innovation can be estimated, holding the differences in the technological scope of the patents constant. For policymakers considering privatizing public R&D efforts (e.g., national lab), this is the most relevant metric for estimating the counterfactual outcome that would result if the same R&D that was conducted in a national lab was instead conducted by the private sector. The research will develop and apply cutting-edge social science statistical methods to identify and estimate causal relationships in the observed patenting behavior of innovating institutions to develop empirically-grounded policy recommendations for energy and environmental R&D management decision-making.