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Does Environmental Governance Matter for Foreign Direct Investment? Testing the Pollution Haven Hypothesis for Indian States


  • Vinish Kathuria

    (Shailesh J. Mehta School of Management, Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, India. Author email:


This paper attempts to examine the role of environmental governance on foreign direct investment by testing the pollution haven hypothesis for 21 Indian states for the period 2002–2010. To test for the hypothesis, this study computes an abatement expenditure index adjusted for industrial composition at the state level using Annual Survey of Industries plant-level data. The methodology used is based on that proposed by Levinson (2001). The index compares actual pollution abatement expenditures in a particular state, unadjusted for industrial composition, to predicted abatement expenditures in the same state. (The predictions are based on nationwide abatement expenditures by industry and each state's industrial composition.) If the adjusted index is low for a state, it implies that the state has poor environmental governance, which would be expected to induce foreign firms to invest. However, the results do not find any evidence of the pollution haven hypothesis in the Indian context. Other infrastructure and market-access-related variables are more important in influencing a foreign firm's investment decisions than environmental stringency.

Suggested Citation

  • Vinish Kathuria, 2018. "Does Environmental Governance Matter for Foreign Direct Investment? Testing the Pollution Haven Hypothesis for Indian States," Asian Development Review, MIT Press, vol. 35(1), pages 81-107, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:adbadr:v:35:y:2018:i:1:p:81-107

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. David Drukker & Daniel Millimet, 2007. "Assessing the Pollution Haven Hypothesis in an Interdependent World," Departmental Working Papers 0703, Southern Methodist University, Department of Economics.
    2. Grossman, G.M & Krueger, A.B., 1991. "Environmental Impacts of a North American Free Trade Agreement," Papers 158, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Public and International Affairs.
    3. Erik Dietzenbacher & Kakali Mukhopadhyay, 2007. "An Empirical Examination of the Pollution Haven Hypothesis for India: Towards a Green Leontief Paradox?," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 36(4), pages 427-449, April.
    4. Ayse M. Erdogan, 2014. "Foreign Direct Investment And Environmental Regulations: A Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(5), pages 943-955, December.
    5. John H Dunning, 1998. "Location and the Multinational Enterprise: A Neglected Factor?," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 29(1), pages 45-66, March.
    6. Wolfgang Keller & Arik Levinson, 2002. "Pollution Abatement Costs and Foreign Direct Investment Inflows to U.S. States," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(4), pages 691-703, November.
    7. Jiangyan Yu & James P Walsh, 2010. "Determinants of Foreign Direct Investment; A Sectoral and Institutional Approach," IMF Working Papers 10/187, International Monetary Fund.
    8. repec:cdl:ucsbec:28-98 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Fredriksson, Per G. & List, John A. & Millimet, Daniel L., 2003. "Bureaucratic corruption, environmental policy and inbound US FDI: theory and evidence," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(7-8), pages 1407-1430, August.
    10. Yuquing Xing & Charles Kolstad, 2002. "Do Lax Environmental Regulations Attract Foreign Investment?," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 21(1), pages 1-22, January.
    11. Neelakanta N.T. & Haripriya Gundimeda & Vinish Kathuria, 2013. "Does Environmental Quality Influence FDI Inflows? A Panel Data Analysis for Indian States," Review of Market Integration, India Development Foundation, vol. 5(3), pages 303-328, December.
    12. Kathuria, Vinish & Ray, Pradeep & Bhangaonkar, Rekha, 2015. "FDI (foreign direct investment) in wind energy sector in India: Testing the effectiveness of state policies using panel data," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 190-202.
    13. Srivastava, Govind & Kathuria, Vinish, 2014. "Utility reforms in developing countries: Learning from the experiences of Delhi," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 1-16.
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    More about this item


    abatement expenditure; environmental governance; India; pollution haven hypothesis;

    JEL classification:

    • F18 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Environment
    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business


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