IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/kap/policy/v51y2018i4d10.1007_s11077-018-9319-3.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Trade-based adoption of voluntary environmental programs in the developing world: Racing to the top or stuck in the mud?

Author

Listed:
  • Jonas Gamso

    () (Arizona State University)

Abstract

Abstract Scholars have consistently found that firms in developing countries adopt voluntary environmental programs (VEPs) in high numbers when their major trade partners are home to many VEP-certified firms. This reflects the following dynamic: Importers based in countries with many VEP-certified facilities demand similarly sustainable production processes from trade partners, and so exporting firms in partner countries adopt VEPs to signal their sustainable practices. Studies have identified characteristics of developing countries that make local exporting firms more likely to adopt VEPs as a signal; however, there has been little analysis as to the country-level characteristics that make importers more (or less) likely to demand VEPs from suppliers abroad, beyond having many VEP-certified firms themselves. This study considers this matter, theorizing that VEP diffusion only accompanies exporting to countries with high levels of income and education, as well as a high number of VEP-certified firms. Panel data analysis provides support for the theory, showing that developing countries only experience trade-based diffusion of ISO 14001 (a widely adopted VEP) through their exports to countries with high income and/or education levels. In contrast, exporting to countries that lack these characteristics creates no such diffusion, even where importing countries’ VEP certification levels are high. Instead, such trade produces a “stuck in the mud” effect, as developing countries’ certification levels stagnate even as those of their import partners rise.

Suggested Citation

  • Jonas Gamso, 2018. "Trade-based adoption of voluntary environmental programs in the developing world: Racing to the top or stuck in the mud?," Policy Sciences, Springer;Society of Policy Sciences, vol. 51(4), pages 515-543, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:policy:v:51:y:2018:i:4:d:10.1007_s11077-018-9319-3
    DOI: 10.1007/s11077-018-9319-3
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://link.springer.com/10.1007/s11077-018-9319-3
    File Function: Abstract
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. repec:ags:stataj:122599 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:cup:apsrev:v:103:y:2009:i:04:p:669-690_99 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Davies, Ronald B. & Vadlamannati, Krishna Chaitanya, 2013. "A race to the bottom in labor standards? An empirical investigation," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 1-14.
    4. Ian Sheldon, 2006. "Trade and Environmental Policy: A Race to the Bottom?," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(3), pages 365-392, September.
    5. Dani Rodrik, 1998. "Why Do More Open Economies Have Bigger Governments?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(5), pages 997-1032, October.
    6. Arthur Lewbel, 1997. "Constructing Instruments for Regressions with Measurement Error when no Additional Data are Available, with an Application to Patents and R&D," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(5), pages 1201-1214, September.
    7. Zeng, Ka & Eastin, Joshua, 2012. "Do Developing Countries Invest Up? The Environmental Effects of Foreign Direct Investment from Less-Developed Countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(11), pages 2221-2233.
    8. Eric Neumayer & Richard Perkins, 2004. "What explains the uneven take-up of ISO 14001 at the global level? A panel-data analysis," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 36(5), pages 823-839, May.
    9. Brian R. Copeland & M. Scott Taylor, 2004. "Trade, Growth, and the Environment," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(1), pages 7-71, March.
    10. Maoliang Bu & Marcus Wagner, 2016. "Racing to the bottom and racing to the top: The crucial role of firm characteristics in foreign direct investment choices," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 47(9), pages 1032-1057, December.
    11. Jie Wu & Zhenzhong Ma, 2016. "Export Intensity and MNE Customers’ Environmental Requirements: Effects on Local Chinese Suppliers’ Environment Strategies," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 135(2), pages 327-339, May.
    12. Barro, Robert J. & Lee, Jong Wha, 2013. "A new data set of educational attainment in the world, 1950–2010," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 184-198.
    13. Michela Bia & Alessandra Mattei, 2008. "A Stata package for the estimation of the dose–response function through adjustment for the generalized propensity score," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 8(3), pages 354-373, September.
    14. Akbostanci, Elä°F & Tunã‡, G. Ä°Pek & Tãœrãœt-Aåžik, Serap, 2007. "Pollution haven hypothesis and the role of dirty industries in Turkey's exports," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(2), pages 297-322, April.
    15. Adolph, Christopher & Quince, Vanessa & Prakash, Aseem, 2017. "The Shanghai Effect: Do Exports to China Affect Labor Practices in Africa?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 1-18.
    16. Cole, Matthew A., 2004. "Trade, the pollution haven hypothesis and the environmental Kuznets curve: examining the linkages," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 71-81, January.
    17. Nicole Darnall & Joann Carmin, 2005. "Greener and cleaner? The signaling accuracy of U.S. voluntary environmental programs," Policy Sciences, Springer;Society of Policy Sciences, vol. 38(2), pages 71-90, September.
    18. Eric Neumayer, 2001. "Do countries fail to raise environmental standards? An evaluation of policy options addressing "regulatory chill"," International Journal of Sustainable Development, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 4(3), pages 231-244.
    19. Perkins, Richard & Neumayer, Eric, 2012. "Does the ‘California effect’ operate across borders? trading- and investing-up in automobile emission standards," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 42097, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    20. Katharina Holzinger & Thomas Sommerer, 2011. "‘Race to the Bottom’ or ‘Race to Brussels’? Environmental Competition in Europe," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(2), pages 315-339, March.
    21. Robert R. Kaufman & Alex Segura-Ubiergo, 2005. "Globalization, Domestic Politics and Social Spending in Latin," Public Economics 0504009, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kap:policy:v:51:y:2018:i:4:d:10.1007_s11077-018-9319-3. 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 (Springer Nature Abstracting and Indexing). General contact details of provider: http://www.springer.com .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.