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Environmental Policy Without Costs? A Review of the Porter Hypothesis

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  • Brannlund, Runar
  • Lundgren, Tommy

Abstract

This paper reviews the theoretical and empirical literature connected to the so-called Porter hypothesis; that is, it reviews the literature connected to the relation between environmental policy and competitiveness. According to the conventional wisdom environmental policy, aiming for improving the environment through, for example emission reductions, does imply costs since scarce resources must be diverted from somewhere else. However, this conventional wisdom has been challenged and questioned recently through what has been denoted the "Porter hypothesis". Advocates of the Porter hypothesis challenge the conventional wisdom on the ground that resources are used inefficiently in the absence of the right kind of environmental regulations, and that the conventional neoclassical view is too static to take inefficiencies into account. The conclusions that can be drawn from this review are: (1) that the theoretical literature can identify the circumstances and mechanisms that must exist for a Porter effect to occur, (2) that these circumstances are rather non-general, hence rejecting the Porter hypothesis in general, and (3) that the empirical literature gives no general support for the Porter hypothesis. Furthermore, a closer look at the "Swedish case" reveals no support for the Porter hypothesis in spite of the fact that Swedish environmental policy the last 15–20 years seems to be in line the prerequisites stated by the Porter hypothesis concerning environmental policy.

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  • Brannlund, Runar & Lundgren, Tommy, 2009. "Environmental Policy Without Costs? A Review of the Porter Hypothesis," International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics, now publishers, vol. 3(2), pages 75-117, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:now:jirere:101.00000020
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    2. Lundgren, Tommy & Marklund, Per-Olov, 2012. "Environmental Performance and Profits," CERE Working Papers 2012:8, CERE - the Center for Environmental and Resource Economics.
    3. Valadkhani, Abbas & Roshdi, Israfil & Smyth, Russell, 2016. "A multiplicative environmental DEA approach to measure efficiency changes in the world's major polluters," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 363-375.
    4. Stöver, Jana & Weche, John P., 2015. "Environmental regulation and sustainable competitiveness: Evaluating the role of firm-level green investments in the context of the Porter hypothesis," HWWI Research Papers 170, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI).
    5. Lundgren, Tommy & Marklund, Per-Olov & Samakovlis, Eva & Zhou, Wenchao, 2013. "Carbon Prices and Incentives for Technological Development," CERE Working Papers 2013:4, CERE - the Center for Environmental and Resource Economics.
    6. Bostian, Moriah & Färe, Rolf & Grosskopf, Shawna & Lundgren, Tommy, 2016. "Environmental investment and firm performance: A network approach," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 243-255.
    7. Stefan Ambec & Mark A. Cohen & Stewart Elgie & Paul Lanoie, 2013. "The Porter Hypothesis at 20: Can Environmental Regulation Enhance Innovation and Competitiveness?," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 7(1), pages 2-22, January.
    8. André, Francisco J., 2015. "Strategic Effects and the Porter Hypothesis," MPRA Paper 62237, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Meyer, Andrew & Pac, Grzegorz, 2013. "Environmental performance of state-owned and privatized eastern European energy utilities," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 205-214.
    10. Anabel Zárate-Marco & Jaime Vallés-Giménez, 2015. "Environmental tax and productivity in a decentralized context: new findings on the Porter hypothesis," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 40(2), pages 313-339, October.
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    19. Xie, Rong-hui & Yuan, Yi-jun & Huang, Jing-jing, 2017. "Different Types of Environmental Regulations and Heterogeneous Influence on “Green” Productivity: Evidence from China," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 132(C), pages 104-112.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Environmental policy; The Porter hypothesis; Productivity; Profitability;

    JEL classification:

    • D20 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - General
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • Q52 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Pollution Control Adoption and Costs; Distributional Effects; Employment Effects
    • Q55 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Technological Innovation
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth

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