‘Green chasm’ in clean-tech for air pollution: Patent evidence of a long innovation cycle and a technological level gap

Sang Jin Ahn, Ho Young Yoon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


The dual challenges of economic development and environment conservation tend to be a lopsided discussion for developing countries. Compared with the concept of “poverty trap” or “middle-income trap” for economic development. The conceptualization of the difficulties and obstacles that developing countries are facing for environment conservation is rare to find. This study is one of efforts to balancing out the discussion by borrowing the concept of Moore's “chasm”. The study articulates the concept of “green chasm” to explain the discontinuation of latecomer's catch-up and enhanced forerunner's enduring leadership. Through the patent analysis of clean-tech for air pollution, the study found a long innovation Technological Innovation Systems (TIS) life cycle in clean-tech and a large technological gap in the catch-up cycle, which often lead the frustration of latecomer's experience to develop green innovation. This finding has led the policy proposal for overcoming “green chasm”. By classifying the window of opportunity for catch-up into six TIS functions and then by interpreting it as a transnational dimension, the following policies are suggested; the application of compulsory license, antitrust restriction, and export license easing measures for clean-tech.

Original languageEnglish
Article number122726
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their thoughtful suggestions and comments. Financial support from the KISTEP ( BF17010 : Infrastructure Project for Technology Foresight) is gratefully acknowledged.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Ltd


  • Air pollution
  • Chasm
  • Clean-tech
  • Innovation capability
  • Innovation cycle
  • Patent analysis


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