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Trade and the Environment: The Role of Firm Heterogeneity

  • Udo Kreickemeier
  • Philipp M. Richter

This paper derives a new effect of trade liberalisation on the quality of the environment. We show that in the presence of heterogeneous firms the aggregate volume of emissions is influenced not only by the long-established scale effect, but also by a reallocation effect resulting from an increase in the relative size of more productive firms. We show how the relative importance of these effects, and hence the overall effect of trade liberalisation on the environment, is affected by the emission-intensity at the firm level: Aggregate emissions decrease when trade is liberalised if and only if firm-specific emission intensity decreases strongly with increasing firm productivity.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3846.

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Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3846
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  1. Andrew B. Bernard & Stephen Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2004. "Comparative advantage and heterogeneous firms," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3700, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  2. Melitz, Marc J, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3381, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Frankel, Jeffrey & Rose, Andrew K., 2003. "Is Trade Good or Bad for the Environment? Sorting Out the Causality," Working Paper Series rwp03-038, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  4. Melitz, Marc J. & Trefler, Daniel, 2012. "Gains from Trade When Firms Matter," Scholarly Articles 10914282, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. Copeland, Brian R & Taylor, M Scott, 1994. "North-South Trade and the Environment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(3), pages 755-87, August.
  6. Cole, Matthew A. & Elliott, Robert J.R. & Shimamoto, Kenichi, 2005. "Industrial characteristics, environmental regulations and air pollution: an analysis of the UK manufacturing sector," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 121-143, July.
  7. Mazzanti, Massimiliano & Zoboli, Roberto, 2009. "Environmental efficiency and labour productivity: Trade-off or joint dynamics? A theoretical investigation and empirical evidence from Italy using NAMEA," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(4), pages 1182-1194, February.
  8. Eaton, Jonathan & Kortum, Samuel S & Kramarz, Francis, 2009. "An Anatomy of International Trade: Evidence from French Firms," CEPR Discussion Papers 7111, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Demidova, Svetlana & Rodríguez-Clare, Andrés, 2009. "Trade policy under firm-level heterogeneity in a small economy," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 100-112, June.
  10. Cole, Matthew A. & Elliott, Robert J. R., 2003. "Determining the trade-environment composition effect: the role of capital, labor and environmental regulations," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 363-383, November.
  11. Rauscher, Michael, 1997. "International Trade, Factor Movements, and the Environment," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198290506.
  12. Nicole Gürtzgen & Michael Rauscher, 2000. "Environmental Policy, Intra-Industry Trade and Transfrontier Pollution," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 17(1), pages 59-71, September.
  13. Alexander Haupt, 2006. "Environmental Policy in Open Economies and Monopolistic Competition," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 33(2), pages 143-167, 02.
  14. Werner Antweiler & Brian R. Copeland & M. Scott Taylor, 2001. "Is Free Trade Good for the Environment?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 877-908, September.
  15. Alexander Haupt, 2000. "Environmental Product Standards, International Trade and Monopolistic Competition," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 7(4), pages 585-608, August.
  16. Cole, Matthew A. & Elliott, Robert J.R. & Wu, Shanshan, 2008. "Industrial activity and the environment in China: An industry-level analysis," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 393-408, September.
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