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Multinationals and environmental regulation: are foreign firms harmful?


  • Dardati, Evangelina
  • Saygili, Meryem


The rise of globalization has directed the attention of economists to the effect of trade and multinational production on the environment. We explore whether multinational firms, frequently the target of environmentalists, are harmful for a host country's environment. We introduce environmental regulation in a two-country model of heterogeneous firms with monopolistic competition. Using plant-level data from Chile, we test the model implications. We find that foreign firms are cleaner than domestic plants even after controlling for productivity that is likely to be negatively correlated with emissions. We also show that increasing the stringency of environmental regulations in a previously unregulated market affects the domestic firms more than the multinationals.

Suggested Citation

  • Dardati, Evangelina & Saygili, Meryem, 2012. "Multinationals and environmental regulation: are foreign firms harmful?," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 17(02), pages 163-186, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:endeec:v:17:y:2012:i:02:p:163-186_00

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    Cited by:

    1. Lutz, Benjamin Johannes & Massier, Philipp & Sommerfeld, Katrin & Löschel, Andreas, 2017. "Drivers of energy efficiency in German manufacturing: A firm-level stochastic frontier analysis," ZEW Discussion Papers 17-068, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    2. Roy, Jayjit & Yasar, Mahmut, 2015. "Energy efficiency and exporting: Evidence from firm-level data," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(PA), pages 127-135.
    3. repec:kap:jeczfn:v:122:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s00712-017-0541-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Arimura, Toshihide & Iguchi, Hakaru & Michida, Etsuyo, 2014. "Product-related environmental regulation and voluntary environmental actions : impacts of RoHS and REACH in Malaysia," IDE Discussion Papers 454, Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization(JETRO).

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