Margaret Taylor

(510) 486-4257
cell (510) 847-1879
fax (510) 486-4673
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
1 Cyclotron Road, MS 90R2121
Berkeley, CA 94720 USA
Physical Address
Building 90, Room 2090
Curriculum Vitae [PDF]
Margaret Taylor

Margaret Taylor is a Project Scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and an Engineering Research Associate in Stanford University's Precourt Energy Efficiency Center. She is also affiliated with several units at the University of California, Berkeley, where she served on the faculty from 2002-11 with a primary appointment in the Goldman School of Public Policy (GSPP). Margaret has a broad interdisciplinary education and professional experience that bridges engineering, the social sciences, and the environmental sciences; her degrees are from Carnegie Mellon University and Columbia University. Margaret also has legal and Capitol Hill experience in the areas of international trade, energy, and the environment.

Margaret's research, which has won awards from the Academy of Management and the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis, explores questions at the nexus of innovation and energy/environmental policy. She believes that the mechanisms underlying the relationship between the design and implementation of public policy and the invention, adoption, and diffusion of technologies are not well understood and can have important effects on the social and economic outcomes of public policy. This drives her research agenda, which has predominantly focused on technologies and industries in which government clearly plays a strong role, such as energy and the environment, but has also encompassed industries in which government plays a more subtle role, such as nanotechnology (she is an associate director of a nanotechnology research center at UC Berkeley) and even consumer products.

Margaret's research approach is problem-driven, drawing theoretical and methodological insights from such fields as economics, sociology, business strategy, and organizational behavior. In the area of energy and environment, her work has spanned such technology domains as energy supply (e.g., renewables), energy demand (e.g., energy efficient appliances), environmental pollution control/remediation (e.g., sulfur dioxide control technologies), and transportation (e.g., advanced drive train vehicles). The policy instruments she has researched include emissions trading, performance-based standards, a regulatory sales mandate, renewable portfolio standards, investment and production tax credits, information policies, and R&D funding. When considering these instruments, she pays particularly close attention to the implications of statutory and regulatory language and related government processes for individual and organizational decision-making related to innovation, and tries to highlight strategic responses, whether they are anticipatory, same-period, or future-period.


Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA
Ph.D., Engineering and Public Policy, 2001
M.S., Engineering and Public Policy, 1998
Dissertation: "The Influence of Government Actions on Innovative Activities in the Development of Environmental Technologies to Control Sulfur Dioxide Emissions from Stationary Sources"
Committee: David Hounshell, Edward Rubin, Linda Argote, Scott Farrow
Columbia University, New York, NY
B.A., Double Major: Environmental Science (Geochemistry), American History, 1993


Stanford University. Fall 2012-present.
Engineering Research Associate, Precourt Energy Efficiency Center.
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). May 2010-present.
Project Scientist. July 2011-present.
Faculty Scientist. May 2010-June 2011.
University of California, Berkeley (UCB). January 2002-present.
Research affiliate. Berkeley Roundtable on the International Economy. Sept. 2011-present.
Associate director and executive committee member. NSF-Funded Center of Integrated Nanomechanical Systems (COINS) at UCB. 2008-present.
Affiliate. Boalt Hall School of Law. 2008-present.
Affiliate. Energy and Resources Group. 2003-present.
Assistant professor. Goldman School of Public Policy (GSPP). January 2002-June 2011.
Applied Solutions. Member, board of directors. September 2010-present.
Non-profit with a mission to provide finance mechanisms and a shared forum for local governments to advance energy sovereignty, economic stability, and resilient infrastructure.
Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA. Post-doctoral researcher. 2001.
RAND Corporation, Pittsburgh, PA. Occasional consultant with emphasis on science, technology, and environmental policy. Engagement began May 2000.
International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Young Scientists Summer Program (YSSP). Laxenburg, Austria. 1998.
Dewey Ballantine (now Dewey & LeBoeuf) Washington, D.C. 1994-5.
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, New York, NY. 1993.

Research Statement

Government affects the forces driving industry competition in several ways. Government actions, ranging from regulation to subsidies, have a relatively well-known potential to serve as a barrier to entry in an industry, as well as shape competitive rivalry and the relative positions of an industry's suppliers and buyers. Government actions also shape organizational decisions to engage in and manage innovative activities, but the mechanisms are not well-understood. As technological innovation has the potential to advance social and economic goals ranging from industrial competitiveness to environmentally sustainable growth, an enhanced understanding of the relationship between government actions, private innovative activities, and ultimately, the technologies that result from innovation could have significant public benefit.

This reasoning drives my research agenda, which has predominantly focused on technologies and industries in which government clearly plays a strong role, such as energy and the environment, but has also encompassed industries in which government plays a more subtle role, such as nanotechnology (I am associate director of a major NSF-funded nanotechnology research center at UC Berkeley) and consumer products.

In the area of energy and the environment, my research explores such issues as: (1) the effect of various policy instruments (e.g., emissions trading, performance-based standards, a regulatory sales mandate, renewable portfolio standards, tax credits, and R&D funding) on the invention and diffusion of clean energy technologies (e.g., pollution control, renewable energy, energy efficient products, advanced drive train vehicles, etc.); (2) the importance of government's efforts to promote knowledge dissemination when fostering a technology for public benefit; (3) the role of learning-by-doing as an aspect of innovation in a variety of technologies with relevance to energy and the environment; (4) the blind spots analysts have regarding the full spectrum of policy approaches deployed in support of renewable energy; (5) the political and innovation dynamics of sustaining a long-term environmental policy that both drives and responds to developments in a technology; (6) the policy implications of the disproportionately large role that individual inventors play in clean energy technology; (7) the supply side issues involved in fostering more energy efficient end-use technologies, including the innovative capabilities of white goods manufacturers and the likely heterogeneity of their strategic technology responses to new minimum efficiency performance standards, as well as the effect of market power in the technology choice sets offered to consumers; (8) the potential and the problems associated with federal procurement as an energy policy tool; (9) how regulatory cost-benefit analysis techniques can be improved to account for technological change in regulated industries; and (10) the connection between empirical analysis of technological change and integrated assessment models of climate change.

My non-energy related research has explored such issues as: (1) the evidence behind the treatment of individual inventors by intellectual property policy-makers as either "heroes" or "hobbyists"; (2) the role of risk-relevant research support in efforts to foster innovation in emerging technologies with great potential societal benefit; (3) the motivation and implementation issues behind information instruments, such as local disclosure policies for emerging technologies; (4) "best practices" regarding technology transfer in universities and national laboratories; and (5) the drivers and measures of "success" at NSF research centers in knowledge areas considered to be, ex ante, of high economic benefit.

The research approach I follow begins with a policy problem and then proceeds to address that problem by drawing insights and methods from a diverse set of fields, such as policy analysis, the economics of innovation, organization theory, environmental/energy economics, and engineering. Some of the problems I have experience with are fairly traditional technology policy concerns, such as "needs assessments" (e.g., what would be necessary for California to achieve its greenhouse gas emissions targets by 2050), "technical potential estimates" (e.g., what would be the energy savings associated with full compliance by the federal government with current laws and executive orders regarding procurement), and modeling scenarios (e.g., what happens with future global greenhouse gas emissions if various rates of technological change are incorporated in the modeling assumptions). These sorts of studies draw from fairly standardized toolboxes, however, as do certain problems that lend themselves to typical econometric assessments. What I find particularly interesting, however, are topics that require the development of more unusual research approaches, and in particular multi-method empirical approaches that can balance the strengths and weaknesses of various methodologies. In general, I believe that details matter in understanding policy outcomes, whether those details are with regard to policy design and implementation, technology potential and relative costs, or the phenomenon of innovation and management approaches toward that phenomenon.

I have been recognized for my research in a variety of ways, including awards by the Academy of Management and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, as well as by invitations to present my work to prestigious institutions and influential policy-makers. The policy relevance of my work is particularly important to me (e.g., California climate policy, federal air pollution policy, national nanotechnology policy, etc.).

Over the next five years, I am particularly interested in building a center on climate, technology, and policy that bridges predictive modeling at the macro-scale and behavioral research at the micro-scale. The purview includes knowledge generation on the relationship between policy and the invention, adoption, diffusion, and use of technologies that can advance climate stabilization (i.e.., technologies in energy supply, energy demand, and climate remediation, such as carbon capture and storage and geoengineering) and adaptation to climate impacts, as well as the ongoing processes of technological change that are occurring in the incumbent technology areas. My hope is that this center will address the relatively weak empirical basis for policy design in these areas by bringing together researchers who have been pulling together evidence on these topics from around the world, as a better understanding of the global innovation ecosystem is very important to addressing the transformational challenges.

Selected Publications

Taylor, M.R. "Innovation under Cap-and-Trade Programs." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), March 2012. [PDF]

Taylor, M.R. "Beyond Technology-Push and Demand-Pull: Lessons from California's Solar Policy." Energy Economics, 30 (6), 2829-2854, November 2008. [PDF]

Taylor, M.R., Nemet, G., Colvin, M., Begley, L., Wadia, C., and Dillavou, T. "Government Actions and Innovation in Clean Energy Technologies: The Cases of Photovoltaic Cells, Solar Thermal Electric Power, and Solar Water Heating." Report to the California Energy Commission, PIER Energy-Related Environmental Research. CEC-500-2007-012. October 2007. [PDF]

Bedsworth, L. and Taylor, M.R. "Pushing Technology When It Pushes Back: Learning From California's Zero-Emission Vehicle Program." California Economic Policy Report, Public Policy Institute of California. September 2007. [PDF]

Taylor, M.R., Thornton, D., Nemet, G., and Colvin, M. "Government Actions and Innovation in Environmental Technology for Power Production: The Cases of Selective Catalytic Reduction and Wind Power in California." Report to the California Energy Commission Public Interest Energy Research Program. CEC-500-2006-053. June 2006. [PDF]

Dunphy, K., Taylor, M.R., and Banfield, J. "Environmental Risks of Nanotechnology: National Nanotechnology Initiative Funding, 2000-2004." Environmental Science and Technology, 40 (5), 1401-1407, March 1, 2006. [PDF]

Yeh, S., Rubin, E.S., Hounshell, D.A., and Taylor, M.R. "Technology Innovations and Experience Curves for Nitrogen Oxides Control Technologies." Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association, 55:1827-1838, December 2005. [PDF]

Yeh, S., Rubin, E.S., Hounshell, D.A., and Taylor, M.R. "Uncertainties in Technology Experience Curves for Integrated Assessment Models." Accepted at the International Journal of Energy Technology and Policy, September 2005. [PDF]

Taylor, M.R., Rubin, E.S., and Hounshell, D.A. "Regulation as the Mother of Innovation: The Case of SO2 Control." Law & Policy, 27: 2, 348-78, April 2005. [PDF]

Dahlina, K., M. Taylor and M. Fichmanc. "Today's Edisons or Weekend Hobbyists: Technical Merit and Success of Inventions by Independent Inventors." Research Policy, 33: 8, 1167-1183, October 2004. [PDF]

Rubin, E.S., Taylor, M.R., Yeh, S. and Hounshell, D.A. "Learning Curves for Environmental Technology and Their Importance for Climate Policy Analysis." Energy, 29, 1551-1559, July-August 2004. [PDF]

Riahi, K., Rubin, E.S., Taylor, M.R., Schrattenholzer, L., and Hounshell, D. "Technological Learning for Carbon Capture and Sequestration Technologies." Energy Economics, 26: 4, 539-564, July 2004. [PDF]

Taylor, M.R., Rubin, E.S., and Hounshell, D.A. "The Effect of Government Actions on Technological Innovation for SO2 Control." Environmental Science and Technology, 37 (20), 4527-4534, October 15, 2003. [PDF]

Taylor, M.R. "The Influence of Government Actions on Innovative Activities in the Development of Environmental Technologies to Control Sulfur Dioxide Emissions from Stationary Sources." Doctoral Dissertation, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, 2001. [PDF]