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International Trade in Used Vehicles: The Environmental Consequences of NAFTA

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  • Davis, Lucas

Abstract

Over the last two decades an unprecedented increase in private vehicle ownership has taken place in the developing world. This growth is due, in part, to increased international trade in used vehicles. In this paper we use theory and empirical evidence to evaluate the environmental implications of free trade in vehicles and other used durable goods. With non†homothetic preferences, used vehicles are relatively inexpensive in high†income countries and free trade causes these goods to be exported to low†income countries. We apply this framework to the North American Free Trade Agreement. Since trade restrictions were eliminated in 2005, over 2.5 million used cars have been exported from the United States to Mexico. Using a unique, vehicle†level dataset, we find that traded vehicles are dirtier than the stock of vehicles in the United States and cleaner than the stock in Mexico, so trade leads average vehicle emissions to decrease in both countries. Total greenhouse gas emissions increase, primarily because trade gives new life to vehicles that otherwise would have been scrapped. Key Words: Durable Goods, Non†Homothetic Preferences, NAFTA, Climate Change JEL: F18, H23, Q54, Q56.

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  • Davis, Lucas, 2009. "International Trade in Used Vehicles: The Environmental Consequences of NAFTA," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt98j8m3r6, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:econwp:qt98j8m3r6
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    Cited by:

    1. Mark R. Jacobsen & Christopher R. Knittel & James M. Sallee & Arthur A. van Benthem, 2016. "Sufficient Statistics for Imperfect Externality-Correcting Policies," NBER Working Papers 22063, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Holladay, J. Scott & Price, Michael K. & Wanamaker, Marianne, 2015. "The perverse impact of calling for energy conservation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 1-18.
    3. Matthew Gibson, 2016. "Regulation-Induced Pollution Substitution," Department of Economics Working Papers 2016-04, Department of Economics, Williams College.
    4. Francisco Gallego & Juan-Pablo Montero & Hernán Barahona, 2016. "Adopting a Cleaner Technology: The Effect of Driving Restrictions on Fleet Turnover," Documentos de Trabajo 469, Instituto de Economia. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile..
    5. Cherniwchan, Jevan, 2017. "Trade liberalization and the environment: Evidence from NAFTA and U.S. manufacturing," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 130-149.
    6. Lawrence Goulder & Mark Jacobsen & Arthur van Benthem, 2009. "Unintended Consequences from Nested State & Federal Regulations: The Case of the Pavley Greenhouse-Gas-per-Mile Limits," Discussion Papers 08-049, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
    7. Lenski, Shoshannah M. & Keoleian, Gregory A. & Moore, Michael R., 2013. "An assessment of two environmental and economic benefits of ‘Cash for Clunkers’," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 173-180.
    8. Lang, Corey & Okwelum, Edson, 2015. "The mitigating effect of strategic behavior on the net benefits of a direct load control program," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 141-148.
    9. repec:eee:deveco:v:133:y:2018:i:c:p:264-274 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Goulder, Lawrence H. & Jacobsen, Mark R. & van Benthem, Arthur A., 2012. "Unintended consequences from nested state and federal regulations: The case of the Pavley greenhouse-gas-per-mile limits," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 187-207.
    11. Gibson, Matthew, 2014. "Dirty and perverse: regulation-induced pollution substitution," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt6tn7t0wv, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
    12. Lucas W. Davis & Alan Fuchs & Paul J. Gertler, 2012. "Cash for Coolers," NBER Working Papers 18044, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Lawrence H. Goulder & Mark R. Jacobsen & Arthur A. van Benthem, 2009. "Unintended Consequences from Nested State & Federal Regulations: The Case of the Pavley Greenhouse-Gas-per-Mile Limits," NBER Working Papers 15337, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Davis, Lucas W., 2011. "The Effects of Preferential Vat Rates Near International Borders: Evidence From Mexico," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 64(1), pages 85-104, March.
    15. Stefania Lovo & Michael Gasiorek & Richard Tol, 2014. "Investment in second-hand capital goods and energy intensity," GRI Working Papers 163, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
    16. repec:ten:wpaper:20141 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Bin Hu & Ross McKitrick, 2016. "Decomposing the Environmental Effects of Trade Liberalization: The Case of Consumption-Generated Pollution," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 64(2), pages 205-223, June.
    18. Mark R. Jacobsen & Arthur A. van Benthem, 2013. "Vehicle Scrappage and Gasoline Policy," NBER Working Papers 19055, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Castledine, A. & Moeltner, K. & Price, M.K. & Stoddard, S., 2014. "Free to choose: Promoting conservation by relaxing outdoor watering restrictions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 107(PA), pages 324-343.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • L62 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Automobiles; Other Transportation Equipment; Related Parts and Equipment
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • O19 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - International Linkages to Development; Role of International Organizations
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
    • 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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