IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Environmental tariffs on polluting imports

  • Muthukumara Mani
Registered author(s):

    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

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists in its journal Environmental and Resource Economics.

    Volume (Year): 7 (1996)
    Issue (Month): 4 (June)
    Pages: 391-411

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:kap:enreec:v:7:y:1996:i:4:p:391-411
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as in new window
    1. 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.
    2. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521322249 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Baldwin, R E & Murray, Tracy, 1977. "MFN Tariff Reductions and Developing Country Trade Benefits under the GSP," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 87(345), pages 30-46, March.
    4. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521311120 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. Markusen, James R., 1975. "International externalities and optimal tax structures," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 15-29, February.
    10. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kap:enreec:v:7:y:1996:i:4:p:391-411. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sonal Shukla)

    or (Christopher F. Baum)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.