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Pollution Havens and the Trade in Toxic Chemicals: Evidence from U.S. Trade Flows

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  • John P. Tang

Abstract

Does increased environmental protection decrease the emission of pollutants or merely displace them? Using newly available trade data, this study examines the flows of a panel of chemicals designated as toxic by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxics Release Inventory (TRI). Estimates from a differences-in-differences model indicate a significant increase in net imports when a chemical is listed on TRI, which suggests production offshoring. Furthermore, I find that increased imports due to this “pollution haven effect” are sourced disproportionately from poorer countries, which are likely to have lower environmental protection standards. At the same time, I observe the bulk of American trade in toxic chemicals occurs with other wealthy countries, which may be attributed to the capital intensity of chemical production.

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File URL: ftp://ftp2.census.gov/ces/wp/2010/CES-WP-10-12.pdf
File Function: First version, 2010
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau in its series Working Papers with number 10-12.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:10-12

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  1. Linda Bui, 2005. "Public Disclosure of Private Information as a Tool for Regulating Environmental Emissions: Firm-Level Responses by Petroleum Refineries to the Toxics Release Inventory," Working Papers 05-13, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  2. Ederington Josh & Levinson Arik & Minier Jenny, 2004. "Trade Liberalization and Pollution Havens," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 3(2), pages 1-24, November.
  3. John Tang, 2010. "Globalization and Price Dispersion: Evidence from U.S. Trade Flows," Working Papers 10-07, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  4. Frankel, Jeffrey & Rose, Andrew K., 2003. "Is Trade Good or Bad for the Environment? Sorting Out the Causality," Working Paper Series rwp03-038, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  5. Josh Ederington & Jenny Minier, 2000. "Is Environmental Policy a Secondary Trade Barrier? An Empirical Analysis," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1507, Econometric Society.
  6. Khanna, Madhu & Quimio, Wilma Rose H. & Bojilova, Dora, 1998. "Toxics Release Information: A Policy Tool for Environmental Protection," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 243-266, November.
  7. Cole, Matthew A. & Elliott, Robert J. R., 2003. "Determining the trade-environment composition effect: the role of capital, labor and environmental regulations," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 363-383, November.
  8. Arik Levinson & M. Scott Taylor, 2004. "Unmasking the Pollution Haven Effect," NBER Working Papers 10629, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Hamilton James T., 1995. "Pollution as News: Media and Stock Market Reactions to the Toxics Release Inventory Data," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 98-113, January.
  10. Randy Becker & Vernon Henderson, 2000. "Effects of Air Quality Regulations on Polluting Industries," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(2), pages 379-421, April.
  11. 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.
  12. Konar, Shameek & Cohen, Mark A., 1997. "Information As Regulation: The Effect of Community Right to Know Laws on Toxic Emissions," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 109-124, January.
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Cited by:
  1. Markusen, James R., 2012. "Per-Capita Income as a Determinant of International Trade and Environmental Policies," Discussion Papers 2013-06, Graduate School of Economics, Hitotsubashi University.
  2. Löschel, Andreas & Rexhäuser, Sascha & Schymura, Michael, 2013. "Trade and the environment: An application of the WIOD database," ZEW Discussion Papers 13-005, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  3. James R. Markusen, 2014. "Per-Capital Income as a Determinant of International Trade and Environment Policies," CESifo Working Paper Series 4618, CESifo Group Munich.

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