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Foreign Direct Investment and Pollution Havens: Evaluating the Evidence from China

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Author Info

  • Dean, Judith M.
  • Lovely, Mary E.
  • Wang, Hua

Abstract

One of the most contentious debates today is whether pollution-intensive industries seek locations with weak environmental standards, turning these locations into 'pollution havens." Empirical studies to date show little evidence to support the pollution haven hypothesis, but suffer potentially from omitted variable bias, specification, and measurement errors. This paper estimates the strength of pollution-haven behavior by examining the location choices of equity joint venture (EJV) projects in China. We derive a location choice model from a theoretical framework that incorporates the firm's production and abatement decision, agglomeration and factor abundance. We estimate conditional logit and nested multinomial logit models using new data sets containing information on a sample of EJV projects, effective environmental levies on water pollution, and estimates of Chinese emissions and abatement costs for 3-digit ISIC industries. Results from 2886 manufacturing joint venture projects during 1993-1996 show EJVs from all source countries go into provinces with high concentrations of foreign investment, relatively abundant stocks of skilled workers, concentrations of foreign firms, and special incentives. Environmental stringency does affect location choice, but not in the manner described by the pollution haven hypothesis. Relatively weak environmental levies are a significant attraction for joint ventures with partners from Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, and other Southeast Asian developing countries. In contrast, joint ventures with partners from industrial country sources (e.g., US, UK and Japan) are actually attracted by stringent environmental levies, regardless of the pollution intensity of the industry. We discuss the likely role of technological differences in explaining these results.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by United States International Trade Commission, Office of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 15854.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:ags:uitcoe:15854

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Keywords: Environmental Economics and Policy; International Relations/Trade;

References

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  1. Zhang, Kevin Honglin & Markusen, James R., 1999. "Vertical multinationals and host-country characteristics," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 233-252, August.
  2. 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.
  3. Harry G. Broadman & Xiaolun Sun, 1997. "The Distribution of Foreign Direct Investment in China," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(3), pages 339-361, 05.
  4. Wang, Hua & Wheeler, David, 2003. "Equilibrium pollution and economic development in China," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 8(03), pages 451-466, July.
  5. Broadman, Harry G. & Xiaolun Sun, 1997. "The distribution of foreign direct investment in China," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1720, The World Bank.
  6. Josh Ederington & Arik Levinson & Jenny Minier, 2003. "Footloose and Pollution-Free," NBER Working Papers 9718, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Gunnar A. Eskeland & Ann E. Harrison, 2002. "Moving to Greener Pastures? Multinationals and the Pollution Haven Hypothesis," NBER Working Papers 8888, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Head, Keith & Ries, John, 1996. "Inter-City Competition for Foreign Investment: Static and Dynamic Effects of China's Incentive Areas," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 38-60, July.
  9. Beata K. Smarzynska & Shang-Jin Wei, 2001. "Pollution Havens and Foreign Direct Investment: Dirty Secret or Popular Myth?," NBER Working Papers 8465, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Hua Wang & Nlandu Mamingi & Benoit Laplante & Susmita Dasgupta, 2003. "Incomplete Enforcement of Pollution Regulation: Bargaining Power of Chinese Factories," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 24(3), pages 245-262, March.
  11. Cheng, Leonard K. & Kwan, Yum K., 2000. "What are the determinants of the location of foreign direct investment? The Chinese experience," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 379-400, August.
  12. Hua Wang & Wheeler, David, 1996. "Pricing industrial pollution in China : an econometric analysis of the levy system," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1644, The World Bank.
  13. Judith M. Dean, 2002. "Does trade liberalization harm the environment? A new test," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 35(4), pages 819-842, November.
  14. Fung, K. C. & Iizaka, Hitomi & Parker, Stephen, 2002. "Determinants of U.S. and Japanese Direct Investment in China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 567-578, September.
  15. Levinson, Arik, 1996. "Environmental regulations and manufacturers' location choices: Evidence from the Census of Manufactures," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1-2), pages 5-29, October.
  16. Wolfgang Keller & Arik Levinson, 2002. "Pollution Abatement Costs and Foreign Direct Investment Inflows to U.S. States," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(4), pages 691-703, November.
  17. Dean, Judith M., 1992. "Trade and the environment : a survey of the literature," Policy Research Working Paper Series 966, The World Bank.
  18. Arik Levinson and M. Scott Taylor, 2004. "Unmasking the Pollution Haven Hypothesis," Working Papers gueconwpa~04-04-04, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
  19. Cletus C. Coughlin & Eran Segev, 2000. "Foreign Direct Investment in China: A Spatial Econometric Study," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 23(1), pages 1-23, 01.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Amiti, Mary & Smarzynska Javorcik, Beata, 2005. "Trade Costs and Location of Foreign Firms in China," CEPR Discussion Papers 4978, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Dean, Judith M. & Lovely, Mary E. & Wang, Hua, 2005. "Are foreign investors attracted to weak environmental regulations? Evaluating the evidence from China," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3505, The World Bank.
  3. Natalia Zugravu & Sonia Ben Kheder, 2008. "The Pollution Haven Hypothesis: A Geographic Economy Model in a Comparative Study," Working Papers 2008.73, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  4. Dinda, Soumyananda, 2004. "Environmental Kuznets Curve Hypothesis: A Survey," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 431-455, August.
  5. Ronald B. Davies & Christopher J. Ellis, 2001. "Competition in Taxes and Performance Requirements for Foreign Direct Investment," University of Oregon Economics Department Working Papers 2001-4, University of Oregon Economics Department, revised 01 Jun 2001.
  6. Gary Koop & Lise Tole, 2008. "What is the environmental performance of firms overseas? An empirical investigation of the global gold mining industry," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 30(2), pages 129-143, October.
  7. repec:hal:journl:halshs-00344845 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Dean, Judith & Fung, K.C. & Wang, Zhi, 2008. "How vertically specialized is Chinese trade?," BOFIT Discussion Papers 31/2008, Bank of Finland, Institute for Economies in Transition.
  9. Andreas Waldkirch & Munisamy Gopinath, 2004. "Pollution Haven or Hythe? New Evidence from Mexico," International Trade 0412005, EconWPA.
  10. Chakraborty, Debashis & Mukherjee, Sacchidananda, 2010. "Relationship between Trade, Investment and Environment: A Review of Issues," MPRA Paper 23333, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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