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The Effects of Domestic Climate Change Measures on International Competitiveness


  • Hiau Looi Kee
  • Hong Ma
  • Muthukumara Mani


Abstract (1286) Hiau Looi Kee, Hong Ma and Muthukumara Mani Under the Kyoto Protocol, industrialised countries (called Annex I countries) have to reduce their combined emissions to 5 per cent below 1990 levels in the first commitment period of 2008-12. Efforts to reduce emissions to meet Kyoto targets and beyond have raised issues of competitiveness in countries that are implementing these policies, as well as fear of leakage of carbon-intensive industries to non-implementing countries. This has also led to proposals for tariff or border tax adjustments to offset any adverse impact of capping CO 2 emissions. In this paper we examine the implications of climate change policies such as carbon tax and energy efficiency standards on competitiveness across industries, as well as issues related to leakage, if any, of carbon-intensive industries to developing countries. Though competitiveness issues have been much debated in the context of carbon taxation policies, the study finds no evidence that industries' competitiveness is affected by carbon taxes. In fact, the analysis suggests that exports of most energy-intensive industries increase when a carbon tax is imposed by the exporting countries, or by both importing and exporting countries. This finding gives credence to the initial assumption that recycling the taxes back to the energy-intensive industries by means of subsidies and exemptions may be overcompensating for the disadvantage to those industries. There is, however, no conclusive evidence that supports relocation (leakage) of carbon-intensive industries to developing countries due to stringent climate change policies. Copyright 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Hiau Looi Kee & Hong Ma & Muthukumara Mani, 2010. "The Effects of Domestic Climate Change Measures on International Competitiveness," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(6), pages 820-829, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:worlde:v:33:y:2010:i:6:p:820-829

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ben Lockwood & David Meza & Gareth Myles, 1994. "When are origin and destination regimes equivalent?," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 1(1), pages 5-24, February.
    2. Susanne Dröge & Claudia Kemfert, 2005. "Trade Policy to Control Climate Change: Does the Stick Beat the Carrot?," Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung / Quarterly Journal of Economic Research, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 74(2), pages 235-248.
    3. van Asselt, Harro & Biermann, Frank, 2007. "European emissions trading and the international competitiveness of energy-intensive industries: a legal and political evaluation of possible supporting measures," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 497-506, January.
    4. Whalley, John, 1979. "Uniform domestic tax rates, trade distortions and economic integration," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 213-221, March.
    5. Krauss, Melvyn B & Johnson, Harry G, 1972. "The Theory of Tax Incidence: A Diagrammatic Analysis," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 39(156), pages 357-382, November.
    6. Roland Ismer & Karsten Neuhoff, 2007. "Border tax adjustment: a feasible way to support stringent emission trading," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 24(2), pages 137-164, October.
    7. Gary Clyde Hufbauer & Carol Gabyzon, 1996. "Fundamental Tax Reform and Border Tax Adjustments," Peterson Institute Press: Policy Analyses in International Economics, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number pa43, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Abay Mulatu & Ada Wossink, 2014. "Environmental Regulation and Location of Industrialized Agricultural Production in Europe," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 90(3), pages 509-537.
    2. Reyer Gerlagh, Nicole A. Mathys and Thomas O. Michielsen, 2015. "Energy Abundance, Trade and Specialization," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3).

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