Environmental tariffs on polluting imports
This paper examines the implications for the use of trade measures as “weapons” to address global environmental concerns. There are already proposals in the U.S. senate to impose an environmental tariff against foreign nations whose cost advantages stem from less stringent environmental standards than the U.S. The paper argues that trade policy measures typically are not the first best instruments for achieving environmental objectives. Even theoretically they could be shown to be welfare improving only under a very narrow range of circumstances. Their use in place of more efficient policy instruments may not only end up distorting the patterns of world trade but also may worsen the overall patterns of environmental quality. Simulation exercises undertaken here suggest that it is highly unlikely that countries would alter their environmental behavior because of the imposition of the proposed U.S. tariff. Hence the proposed legislation has very uncertain environmental consequences. Even if the policy has been mainly designed to protect domestic industries, it would only provide a minor margin of protection because the costs of complying with the environmental standards represent a relatively small element in the total costs. The analysis suggests that trade policy introduced in this fashion will have no significant impact on the patterns of world trade and pollution. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996
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Volume (Year): 7 (1996)
Issue (Month): 4 (June)
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References listed on IDEAS
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- Pasuiuca, Carl Jr., 1984. "The short-run impact of environmental protection costs on U.S. product prices," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 380-390, December.
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- Shoven, John B & Whalley, John, 1984. "Applied General-Equilibrium Models of Taxation and International Trade: An Introduction and Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 22(3), pages 1007-51, September.
- Tobey, James A, 1990. "The Effects of Domestic Environmental Policies on Patterns of World Trade: An Empirical Test," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(2), pages 191-209.
- Mutti, John H. & Richardson, J. David, 1977. "International competitive displacement from environmental control The quantitative gains from methodological refinement," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 135-152, June.
- H. David Robison, 1988. "Industrial Pollution Abatement: The Impact on Balance of Trade," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 21(1), pages 187-99, February.
- Markusen, James R., 1975. "International externalities and optimal tax structures," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 15-29, February.
- Hazilla, Michael & Kopp, Raymond J, 1990. "Social Cost of Environmental Quality Regulations: A General Equilibrium Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(4), pages 853-73, August.
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