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Environmental policies and productivity growth: a critical review of empirical findings

Author

Listed:
  • Tomasz Kozluk
  • Vera Zipperer

Abstract

The economic effects of environmental policies are of central interest to policymakers. The traditional approach sees environmental policies as a burden on economic activity, at least in the short to medium term, as they raise costs without increasing output and restrict the set of production technologies and outputs. At the same time, the Porter Hypothesis claims that well-designed environmental policies can provide a “free lunch” – encouraging innovation, bringing about gains in profitability and productivity that can outweigh the costs of the policy. This paper reviews the empirical evidence on the link between environmental policy stringency and productivity growth, and the various channels through which such effects can take place. The results are ambiguous, in particular as many of the studies are fragile and context-specific, impeding the generalisation of conclusions. Practical problems related to data, measurement and estimation strategies are discussed, leading to suggestions as to how they can be addressed in future research. These include: improving the measurement of environmental policy stringency; investigating effects of different types of instruments and details of instrument design; exploiting cross-country variation; and the complementary use of different levels of aggregation.

Suggested Citation

  • Tomasz Kozluk & Vera Zipperer, 2014. "Environmental policies and productivity growth: a critical review of empirical findings," OECD Journal: Economic Studies, OECD Publishing, vol. 2014(1), pages 155-185.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:ecokac:5jz2drqml75j
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/eco_studies-2014-5jz2drqml75j
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    Cited by:

    1. Rubashkina, Yana & Galeotti, Marzio & Verdolini, Elena, 2015. "Environmental regulation and competitiveness: Empirical evidence on the Porter Hypothesis from European manufacturing sectors," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 288-300.
    2. repec:oup:renvpo:v:11:y:2017:i:2:p:183-206. is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Spyros Arvanitis & Michael Peneder & Christian Rammer & Tobias Stucki & Martin Wörter, 2016. "Development and Utilization of Energy-related Technologies, Economic Performance and the Role of Policy Instruments," KOF Working papers 16-419, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
    4. repec:eee:tefoso:v:122:y:2017:i:c:p:49-62 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Antonietti, Roberto & Marzucchi, Alberto, 2014. "Green tangible investment strategies and export performance: A firm-level investigation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 150-161.
    6. Albrizio, Silvia & Kozluk, Tomasz & Zipperer, Vera, 2017. "Environmental policies and productivity growth: Evidence across industries and firms," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 209-226.
    7. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:12:p:2323-:d:122721 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. De Santis R. & Jona Lasinio C., 2016. "Environmental Policies, Innovation and Productivity in the EU," Global Economy Journal, De Gruyter, vol. 16(4), pages 615-635, December.
    9. Borghesi, Simone & Cainelli, Giulio & Mazzanti, Massimiliano, 2015. "Linking emission trading to environmental innovation: Evidence from the Italian manufacturing industry," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 669-683.
    10. Roberta De Santis & Cecilia Jona Lasinio, 2015. "Environmental Policies, Innovation and Productivity in EU," Working Papers LuissLab 15122, Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza, LUISS Guido Carli.
    11. David Oliveira & Isabel Mendes, 2017. "Green Taxation on Competitiveness: The Effect of the ISP Tax on the Portuguese Retail Sector of Road Fuels," International Journal of Energy Economics and Policy, Econjournals, vol. 7(1), pages 178-184.
    12. repec:eee:respol:v:47:y:2018:i:6:p:1018-1031 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Wang, Yan & Shen, Neng, 2016. "Environmental regulation and environmental productivity: The case of China," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 758-766.
    14. Åsa Johansson, 2016. "Public Finance, Economic Growth and Inequality: A Survey of the Evidence," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1346, OECD Publishing.
    15. 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.
    16. Lorena D’Agostino, 2015. "How MNEs respond to environmental regulation: integrating the Porter hypothesis and the pollution haven hypothesis," Economia Politica: Journal of Analytical and Institutional Economics, Springer;Fondazione Edison, vol. 32(2), pages 245-269, August.
    17. Mundaca, Gabriela, 2017. "Energy subsidies, public investment and endogenous growth," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 693-709.
    18. Morales-Lage, Rafael & Bengochea-Morancho, Aurelia & Martínez-Zarzoso, Inmaculada, 2016. "Does environmental policy stringency foster innovation and productivity in OECD countries?," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 282, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Environmental policy; Porter Hypothesis; Productivity; Innovation;

    JEL classification:

    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence
    • Q50 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - General
    • Q55 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Technological Innovation
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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