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Survol des fondements théoriques de l’hypothèse de Porter


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  • Ambec, Stefan

    (École d’Économie de Toulouse (INRA - LERNA))

  • Barla, Philippe

    (Département d’économique, Université Laval)


This paper reviews in a non-technical presentation some of the theoretical foundations of the Porter Hypothesis that argues that strict environmental regulations may increase the profits of industries that have to respect them. After a short presentation of the hypothesis, some of the arguments based on firms’ organizational failures are presented. Arguments based on market failures are then discussed. The main conclusions of this review are: i) the Porter Hypothesis requires the presence of at least one distortion beside the environmental externality, ii) the type of environmental regulations leading to the Porter result depends upon the nature of the interacting distortions. Furthermore, reaching the optimum will usually require using several regulatory instruments, iii) empirical testing of the Porter hypothesis has to allow for the presence of multiple distortions. Cet article présente de manière non technique certains des fondements théoriques possibles de l’hypothèse de Porter selon laquelle, des réglementations environnementales strictes peuvent améliorer le profit des industries qui y sont soumises. Après une brève présentation de l’hypothèse, les arguments basés sur l’existence d’imperfections au sein de l’entreprise sont passés en revue. Les imperfections du marché susceptibles d’éventuellement justifier l’hypothèse de Porter sont ensuite discutées. Les principales conclusions de ce survol sont : i) l’hypothèse de Porter requiert l’interaction de l’externalité environnementale avec au moins une autre source de distorsions; ii) le type d’intervention publique qui peut aboutir à un effet à la Porter dépend de la nature des distorsions qui interagissent, l’atteinte de l’optimum peut exiger l’usage de plusieurs instruments; iii) l’exploration empirique de l’hypothèse de Porter doit, pour être valide, autoriser la présence de ces multiples distorsions.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Société Canadienne de Science Economique in its journal L'Actualité économique.

Volume (Year): 83 (2007)
Issue (Month): 3 (septembre)
Pages: 399-413

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Handle: RePEc:ris:actuec:v:83:y:2007:i:3:p:399-413

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Cited by:
  1. Ambec, Stefan & Cohen, Mark & Elgie, Stewart & Lanoie, Paul, 2010. "The Porter Hypothesis at 20: Can Environmental Regulation Enhance Innovation and Competitiveness?," TSE Working Papers 10-215, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
  2. Dylan Rassier & Dietrich Earnhart, 2010. "Does the Porter Hypothesis Explain Expected Future Financial Performance? The Effect of Clean Water Regulation on Chemical Manufacturing Firms," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 45(3), pages 353-377, March.


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