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Unmasking the Pollution Haven Effect

  • Arik Levinson

This paper uses both theory and empirical work to examine the effect of environmental regulations on trade flows. We develop a simple economic model to demonstrate how unobserved heterogeneity, endogeneity and aggregation issues bias measurements of the relationship between regulatory costs and trade. We apply an estimating equation derived from the model to data on U.S. regulations and net trade flows among the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, for 130 manufacturing industries from 1977 to 1986. Our results indicate that industries whose abatement costs increased most experienced the largest increases in net imports. For the 20 industries most affected by regulation, the change in net imports we ascribe to the increase in regulatory costs amounts to more than half of the total increase in trade volume over the period.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Calgary in its series Working Papers with number 2008-02.

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Date of creation: 01 Feb 2006
Date of revision: 01 Jan 2008
Handle: RePEc:clg:wpaper:2008-02
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  1. Josh Ederington & Jenny Minier, 2000. "Is Environmental Policy a Secondary Trade Barrier? An Empirical Analysis," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1507, Econometric Society.
  2. Leamer, E. & Levingsohn, J., 1994. "International Trade Theory: The Evidence," Working Papers 368, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  3. Revesz, Richard L. & Stavins, Robert N., 2007. "Environmental Law," Handbook of Law and Economics, Elsevier.
  4. David H. Romer & Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1999. "Does Trade Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 379-399, June.
  5. Josh Ederington & Arik Levinson & Jenny Minier, 2003. "Footloose and Pollution-Free," NBER Working Papers 9718, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. John A. List & Daniel L. Millimet & Per G. Fredriksson & W. Warren McHone, 2003. "Effects of Environmental Regulations on Manufacturing Plant Births: Evidence from a Propensity Score Matching Estimator," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 944-952, November.
  7. Davidson, Russell & MacKinnon, James G., 1993. "Estimation and Inference in Econometrics," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195060119, March.
  8. Eric J. Bartelsman & Wayne Gray, 1996. "The NBER Manufacturing Productivity Database," NBER Technical Working Papers 0205, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Copeland,B.R. & Scott Taylor,M., 2003. "Trade, growth and the environment," Working papers 10, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  10. Adam B. Jaffe et al., 1995. "Environmental Regulation and the Competitiveness of U.S. Manufacturing: What Does the Evidence Tell Us?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(1), pages 132-163, March.
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