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The Effects of Choosing Free Trade on Endogenous Environmental Regulation and Welfare: A Model of Common Agency Government

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  • Gulati, Sumeet

Abstract

Several studies hypothesize exogeneous environmental regulation as the primary motive for trade between two regions, often predicting a lower welfare for the region with incomplete environmental protection. Such analyses do not allow the region to adjust its environmental policy in response to a shift in the trade regime. Further, they do not allow the region to refuse free trade in the face of a welfare loss. As an alternative I propose a common agency model of government to endogenize environmental policy and the choice of trade regime. Conditions for the incomplete internalization of an environmental externality are specified, and the pollution tax in autarky is compared to that under free trade. The paper finds that moving to free trade induces a tightening of pollution policy reducing the deadweight loss from incomplete environmental regulation. This improvement occurs regardless of any price changes that accompany free trade. In contrast to the predictions from earlier articles, the adoption of free trade increases aggregate welfare. This gain occurs even when the country with incomplete environmental protection exports the pollution intensive good.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association) in its series 2001 Annual meeting, August 5-8, Chicago, IL with number 20449.

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Date of creation: 2001
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Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea01:20449

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Keywords: Environmental Economics and Policy;

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  1. McAusland, Carol, 2003. "Voting for pollution policy: the importance of income inequality and openness to trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 425-451, December.
  2. Pinelopi Koujianou Goldbe & Giovanni Maggi, 1997. "Protection for Sale: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 5942, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Karp, Larry & Sacheti, Sandeep & Zhao, Jinhua, 2001. "Common Ground between Free-Traders and Environmentalists," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 42(3), pages 617-47, August.
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  7. Vukina, T. & Beghin, John C. & Solakoglu, E., 1999. "Transition to Markets and the Environment: Effects of the Change in the Composition of Manufacturing Output," Staff General Research Papers 1907, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  8. Fredriksson, Per G., 1997. "The Political Economy of Pollution Taxes in a Small Open Economy," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 44-58, May.
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  10. Dixit, Avinash & Grossman, Gene M. & Helpman, Elhanan, 1997. "Common Agency and Coordination: General Theory and Application to Government Policy Making," Scholarly Articles 3450061, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  11. Chichilnisky, Graciela, 1994. "North-South Trade and the Global Environment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 851-74, September.
  12. Bommer, Rolf & Schulze, Gunther G., 1999. "Environmental improvement with trade liberalization," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 639-661, November.
  13. Werner Antweiler & Brian R. Copeland & M. Scott Taylor, 1998. "Is Free Trade Good for the Environment?," NBER Working Papers 6707, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Bernheim, B Douglas & Whinston, Michael D, 1986. "Menu Auctions, Resource Allocation, and Economic Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 101(1), pages 1-31, February.
  15. Hettige, Hemamala & Lucas, Robert E B & Wheeler, David, 1992. "The Toxic Intensity of Industrial Production: Global Patterns, Trends, and Trade Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 478-81, May.
  16. Lopez, Ramon & Mitra, Siddhartha, 2000. "Corruption, Pollution, and the Kuznets Environment Curve," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 137-150, September.
  17. Brander, James A. & Scott Taylor, M., 1998. "Open access renewable resources: Trade and trade policy in a two-country model," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 181-209, April.
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