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Common Ground Between Free-traders and Environmentalists


  • Karp, Larry
  • Sacheti, Sandeep


We use a North-South model with property right differences and resource dynamics to study the effects of trade on resource use and welfare. Autarky is likely to Pareto-dominate free trade in the long run when the environment is quite fragile, and the result is reversed when the environment is quite resilient. Trade may cause an environmentally poor country to ‘drag down’ its richer trading partner, or cause both countries to degrade their stocks when these would be preserved under autarky. Alternatively, trade may enable the environmentally richer country to ‘pull up’ its partner or cause both countries to preserve their stocks when these would be degraded under autarky. These results rationalize the positions of environmentalists and free-traders. The direction of trade may change over time, but in steady states it is either inefficient or indeterminate. In the former case a switch to autarky would increase global welfare.

Suggested Citation

  • Karp, Larry & Sacheti, Sandeep, 1997. "Common Ground Between Free-traders and Environmentalists," CEPR Discussion Papers 1598, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:1598

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Eggert, Håkan & Greaker, Mads, 2009. "Effects of Global Fisheries on Developing Countries: Possibilities for Income and Threat of Depletion," Discussion Papers dp-10-09-02-efd, Resources For the Future.
    2. Michele Ruta & Anthony J. Venables, 2012. "International Trade in Natural Resources: Practice and Policy," Annual Review of Resource Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 4(1), pages 331-352, August.
    3. Akihiko Yanase, 2010. "Trade, Strategic Environmental Policy, and Global Pollution," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 18(3), pages 493-512, August.
    4. Gallegos, Alberto & Régibeau, Pierre, 2004. "Managed Trade, Trade liberalisation and Local Pollution," Economics Discussion Papers 8877, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
    5. Karp, Larry & Zhao, Jinhua & Sacheti, Sandeep, 2003. "The long-run effects of environmental reform in open economies," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 246-264, March.
    6. Anriquez, Gustavo, 2002. "Trade And The Environment: An Economic Literature Survey," Working Papers 28598, University of Maryland, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
    7. Zaman, Rubaiya, 2012. "CO2 Emissions, Trade Openness and GDP Percapita : Bangladesh Perspective," MPRA Paper 48515, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Karp, Larry, 2005. "Property rights, mobile capital, and comparative advantage," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 367-387, August.
    9. Akihiho Yanase, 2013. "Free trade may save a renewable resource from exhaustion," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 33(1), pages 226-233.
    10. Muthukumara Mani & Per G. Fredriksson, 2002. "The Rule of Law and the Pattern of Environment Protection," IMF Working Papers 02/49, International Monetary Fund.
    11. Lapan, Harvey E. & Sikdar, Shiva, 2014. "Can Trade be good for the environment?," Staff General Research Papers Archive 39137, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    12. Richter, Andries & van Soest, Daan & Grasman, Johan, 2013. "Contagious cooperation, temptation, and ecosystem collapse," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 141-158.
    13. Barbier, Edward B. & Bulte, Erwin H., 2004. "Introduction to the symposium on trade, renewable resources and biodiversity," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 883-890, September.
    14. Gulati, Sumeet, 2001. "The Effects of Choosing Free Trade on Endogenous Environmental Regulation and Welfare: A Model of Common Agency Government," 2001 Annual meeting, August 5-8, Chicago, IL 20449, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    15. Horatiu A. Rus, 2016. "Renewable Resources, Pollution and Trade," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 24(2), pages 364-391, May.
    16. Cremer, Helmuth & Gahvari, Firouz, 2006. "Which border taxes? Origin and destination regimes with fiscal competition in output and emission taxes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(10-11), pages 2121-2142, November.

    More about this item


    Development Policy; Environmental Management; General Equilibrium; International Trade;

    JEL classification:

    • D5 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium
    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade
    • O20 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - General
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation


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