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Harmonizing Emissions Policy in Symmetric Countries: Improve the Environment, Improve Welfare?

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  • McAusland, Carol

Abstract

We show that harmonizing emissions policy may be bad for the environment and/or global welfare, even when pollution is transboundary and countries are identical in every way. Harmonization effectively internalizes the transboundary aspects of pollution. But it also hampers producers’ ability to avoid local tailpipe regulation via exports of dirty goods and thereby redistributes incidence between producers and consumers. We develop a generic treatment of the political economy of environmental regulation to examine these competing effects. We find that whether harmonization makes politically motivated governments prefer stricter or weaker policy depends on their constituents’ vested interests and the degree of transboundary pollution transmission.

Suggested Citation

  • McAusland, Carol, 2003. "Harmonizing Emissions Policy in Symmetric Countries: Improve the Environment, Improve Welfare?," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt4cj0392t, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucsbec:qt4cj0392t
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    12. Schleich, Joachim, 1999. "Environmental quality with endogenous domestic and trade policies1," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 53-71, March.
    13. McAusland, Carol, 2003. "Voting for pollution policy: the importance of income inequality and openness to trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 425-451, December.
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    Keywords

    trade; environment; harmonization; political economy;

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