IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this book chapter or follow this series

International Trade, Foreign Investment, and the Environment

In: Handbook of Environmental Economics

  • Rauscher, Michael

The 1990s produced a large literature on foreign trade and the environment, including both theoretical and empirical contributions. The paper surveys this literature. It starts by looking at the traditional Heckscher-Ohlin type models of international trade and then moves to noncompetitive models and the strategic use of environmental policy in open economies. A shorter section is devoted to public-choice approaches to environmental policy. Moreover, the paper deals with factor mobility and interjurisdictional competition, with intertemporal issues such as renewable resources and foreign indebtedness, with the empirical evidence, and with institutional issues related to the World Trade Organization and international environmental agreements.Basically three questions are addressed from different points of view:- Are trade liberalisation and increased factor mobility good or bad for the environment?- Are there larger incentives to relax environmental policies if economies are more open?- Do we have to expect a race towards the bottom in environmental regulation if trade and international factor movements are liberalised? The answers to all these questions are ambiguous. Since many of the recent contributions to the theoretical literature model second-best worlds, in which the environmental externality is only one of several distortions of the economy, the results depend crucially on the nature of the other distortions. This survey paper gives an overview of this literature and explains the contradictory results. On the empirical side, the results are inconclusive as well. The link between environmental policies on the one hand and international trade and factor movements on the other is much weaker than one might have expected given the intensity and controversy of the policy debate at the turn of the century. Based on the theoretical results and on the empirical evidence, the paper finally tries to identify promising areas of future research. In spite of much progress made in the last decade, much remains to be done.

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: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

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.

in new window

This chapter was published in:
  • K. G. Mäler & J. R. Vincent (ed.), 2005. "Handbook of Environmental Economics," Handbook of Environmental Economics, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 3, number 3, June.
  • This item is provided by Elsevier in its series Handbook of Environmental Economics with number 3-27.
    Handle: RePEc:eee:envchp:3-27
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    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:eee:envchp:3-27. 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: (Zhang, Lei)

    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.