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The Long-Run Effects of Environmental Reform in Open Economies

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Author Info

  • Karp, Larry
  • Zhao, Jinhua
  • Sacheti, Sandeep

Abstract

We compare the short-run and long-run effects of environmental reform and harmonization under autarky and free trade. When trade is driven by environmental distortions rather than real relative advantages, harmonization of environmental policies, even if achieved by lowering standards in one country, can improve short-run aggregate welfare. With the possibility of multiple steady states, long-run considerations favor a \race to the top" rather than a \race to the bottom" even when upward and downward harmonizations are equivalent in the short run. For a country trapped in a low (or bad) steady state, environmental reform may not move it to a high (or good) steady state under autarky. However, under trade, harmonization of policies may enable this country to reach the high steady state. Conversely, reforms that increase the relative differences in distortions may, under trade, cause economies to move toalow steady state.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley in its series Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series with number qt0bm6h9ct.

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Date of creation: 27 Nov 2000
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Handle: RePEc:cdl:agrebk:qt0bm6h9ct

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Keywords: International trade and the environment; environmental policy reform; international;

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References

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  1. Zhao, Jinhua & Karp, Larry & Sacheti, Sandeep, 2001. "Common Ground Between Free-Traders and Environmentalists," Staff General Research Papers 5138, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  2. James A. Brander & M. Scott Taylor, 1996. "Open Access Renewable Resources: Trade and Trade Policy in a Two-CountryModel," NBER Working Papers 5474, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. James A. Brander & M. Scott Taylor, 1995. "International Trade and Open Access Renewable Resources: The Small Open Economy Case," NBER Working Papers 5021, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Eswaran, Mukesh & Kotwal, Ashok, 1993. "A theory of real wage growth in LDCs," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 243-269, December.
  5. Copeland, Brian R & Taylor, M Scott, 1995. "Trade and Transboundary Pollution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 716-37, September.
  6. Michael Hoel, 1993. "Harmonization of carbon taxes in international climate agreements," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 3(3), pages 221-231, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Karp, Larry, 2003. "Property rights, mobile capital, and comparative advantage," CUDARE Working Paper Series 942, University of California at Berkeley, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Policy.

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