Mercury: The good, the bad, and the export ban
We analyze the bipartisan call to ban US exports of commodity mercury. An export ban can generate positive environmental benefits by increasing the scarcity of mercury in developing economies where significant toxic releases occur. We show, however, that a direct mercury purchase and retirement policy can achieve the same foreign environmental goals without adverse impacts on domestic environmental quality. We present qualitative and quantitative evidence that highlight the potential inefficiencies of a mercury export ban as a method of achieving environmental objectives.
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