Jonas Nahm

Jonas Nahm
Assistant Professor of Energy, Resources, and Environment
Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies

Nahm is an Assistant Professor of Energy, Resources, and Environment at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, DC. Prior to coming to SAIS, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs  at Brown University. 

Nahm's research focuses on the political economy of innovation and production, particularly in energy and environmental sectors.  He studies the interaction between firms and governments in processes of industrial development and technological innovation in renewable energy sectors, asking when and how governments reap economic—and not just environmental--benefits from supporting green industries. In addition to China, his primary regional focus for the exploration of these themes, his research draws on cases in Germany and the United States. 

Nahm's book project, tentatively titled Varieties of Innovation: The Creation of Wind and Solar Industries in China, Germany, and the United States, examines technological innovation in renewable energy sectors as a window into state-firm relations under conditions of globalization. Governments around the world have used remarkably similar industrial policies to encourage domestic wind and solar industries, yet firms in different economies have responded to renewable energy policy by establishing distinct innovative capabilities. Drawing on more than two years of field research spanning three different economies, Varieties of Innovation shows how firms respond to sectoral industrial policy by incrementally building on local industrial legacies, even in global, emerging industries such as wind and solar. As governments support renewable energy industries not just for environmental reasons, but also in the hopes of creating tangible economic rewards, this project points to the limits of industrial policy and explains who benefits and how. It also identifies a new and important role for firms from developing economies in the development of new technologies, particularly in industries central to addressing global environmental problems.             

Nahm's research has been funded by the Minerva Research Initiative and the U.S. Army Research Office, the German National Academic Foundation, the World Bank Institute and the Korean Development Institute, the Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy, the Harvard Center for European Studies, the MIT Center for International Studies, and the Caroll Wilson Foundation. He was an MIT Energy Fellow and a Fellow of the German National Academic Foundation.  

Nahm received his PhD in Political Science from MIT.  Prior to his graduate studies at MIT, he completed a B.A. in Social and Political Sciences at the University of Cambridge and an M.A. in Political Science and Asia-Pacific Studies at the University of Toronto. He speaks German and Mandarin Chinese.

Recent Events and Presentations

September 22, 2016

Join ITIF for a discussion on the spread of localization barriers to trade, how they fail to achieve their intended results for the nations using them, and how policymakers can respond to this growing threat to the global innovation economy.