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The Demands for Environmental Regulation and for Trade in the Presence of Private Mitigation

  • Louis Hotte
  • Stanley L. Winer

We study the nature of individual demands for environmental regulation and for trade openness in the general equilibrium of a small open economy where the environment is an input to production. Differences in the ability of individuals to afford private mitigation of the adverse consequences of pollution is a central feature of the analysis. Private mitigation leads to an endogenous, unequal distribution of the health-related consequences of pollution across income groups in a manner consistent with epidemiologic studies, in contrast to much of the literature which assumes equal health effects for all. We show that when private mitigation is possible at a cost, trade polarizes the interests of rich and poor with respect to the stringency of regulation. Moreover, even though trade has the potential to benefit everyone, the poor may oppose trade openness because of a concern that laxer environmental regulation will then be imposed in the interest of the rich. We explain why heterogeneity in the intensity of preferences, and not just in their direction, is likely to play a role in the determination of collective choices with respect to the regulation of the environment and of trade. We conclude by drawing out the implications of the analysis for the study of the political economy of the environment-trade-welfare nexus.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2509.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2509
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  1. Hanna, Brid Gleeson, 2007. "House values, incomes, and industrial pollution," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 100-112, July.
  2. Chichilnisky, Graciela, 1994. "North-South Trade and the Global Environment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 851-74, September.
  3. Seema Jayachandran, 2009. "Air Quality and Early-Life Mortality: Evidence from Indonesia’s Wildfires," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(4).
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  6. Brooks, Nancy & Sethi, Rajiv, 1997. "The Distribution of Pollution: Community Characteristics and Exposure to Air Toxics," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 233-250, February.
  7. McKitrick, R. & Collinge, R.A., 1998. "The Existence and Uniqueness of Optimal Pollution Policy in the Presence of Victim Defense Measures," Working Papers 1998-6, University of Guelph, Department of Economics and Finance.
  8. Hettich,Walter & Winer,Stanley L., 2005. "Democratic Choice and Taxation," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521021807.
  9. 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.
  10. Verdier, Thierry, 2004. "Socially Responsible Trade Integration: A Political Economy Perspective," CEPR Discussion Papers 4699, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Rosado, Marcia A. & Cunha-E-S , Maria A. & Ducla-Soares, Maria M. & Nunes, Luis C., 2006. "Combining averting behavior and contingent valuation data: an application to drinking water treatment in Brazil," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(06), pages 729-746, December.
  12. Coughlin, Peter & Nitzan, Shmuel, 1981. "Electoral outcomes with probabilistic voting and Nash social welfare maxima," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 113-121, February.
  13. Kahn, Matthew E & Matsusaka, John G, 1997. "Demand for Environmental Goods: Evidence from Voting Patterns on California Initiatives," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 40(1), pages 137-73, April.
  14. Schleich, Joachim, 1999. "Environmental quality with endogenous domestic and trade policies1," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 53-71, March.
  15. Aidt, Toke S., 1998. "Political internalization of economic externalities and environmental policy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 1-16, July.
  16. Fredriksson, Per G., 1997. "The Political Economy of Pollution Taxes in a Small Open Economy," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 44-58, May.
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