Shine on me: Producers’ coherence, social movement support, and government endorsement of the emergent solar photovoltaic industry



It is well-recognized that government policy has an important influence on the emergence of new organizational populations and the development of industries. But how does an emergent category of organizations come to be recognized as an industry that is worthy of government support in the first place? In this paper, we argue that governments are more likely to endorse a nascent industry with supportive policy when the entrants that comprise it are more similar and coherent, and when they enjoy recognition and support by actors external to the industry. We test our arguments by analyzing feed-in-tariff policies for solar photovoltaics (PV) in European countries over the period 1990-2012. We find that feed-in-tariffs were more likely in countries with more solar PV producers and less likely when the producers had diversified from heterogeneous origin industries and from industries inconsistent with solar power. Further, in support of our arguments, the impact of the number of producers on government endorsement was greater in countries with a stronger environmental social movement.