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Trade Liberalization and Pollution Havens

U.S. Presidential Executive Order 13141 commits the United States to a "careful assessment and consideration of the environmental impacts of trade agreements." The most direct mechanism through which trade liberalization would affect environmental quality in the U.S. is through changes in the composition of industries. Freer trade means greater specialization, increasing the concentration of polluting industries in some countries and decreasing it in others. Indeed, in this paper we predict a substantial reduction in U.S. pollution from 1972-94 due entirely to a shift in the composition of U.S. manufacturing toward cleaner industries. We then use annual industry-level data on imports to the U.S. to examine whether this compositional shift can be traced to the significant trade liberalization that occurred over the same time period; we conclude that no such connection exists. First, we find that a shift toward cleaner industries, similar to that observed in U.S. manufacturing, has also occurred among U.S. imports. Second, we find no evidence that pollution-intensive industries have been disproportionately affected by the tariff changes over that time period.

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Paper provided by Georgetown University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number gueconwpa~04-04-05.

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Date of creation: 05 Apr 2004
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Handle: RePEc:geo:guwopa:gueconwpa~04-04-05
Contact details of provider: Postal: Georgetown University Department of Economics Washington, DC 20057-1036
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Web page: http://econ.georgetown.edu/
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Order Information: Postal: Roger Lagunoff Professor of Economics Georgetown University Department of Economics Washington, DC 20057-1036
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  1. 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.
  2. Josh Ederington & Arik Levinson & Jenny Minier, 2005. "Footloose and Pollution-Free," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(1), pages 92-99, February.
  3. Ederington Josh & Levinson Arik & Minier Jenny, 2004. "Trade Liberalization and Pollution Havens," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 3(2), pages 1-24, November.
  4. Arik Levinson, 2006. "Unmasking the Pollution Haven Effect," Working Papers 2008-02, Department of Economics, University of Calgary, revised 01 Jan 2008.
  5. Werner Antweiler & Brian R. Copeland & M. Scott Taylor, 1998. "Is Free Trade Good for the Environment?," NBER Working Papers 6707, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. David H. Romer & Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1999. "Does Trade Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 379-399, June.
  7. Revesz, Richard L. & Stavins, Robert N., 2007. "Environmental Law," Handbook of Law and Economics, Elsevier.
  8. Hettige, Hemamala & Lucas, Robert E B & Wheeler, David, 1992. "The Toxic Intensity of Industrial Production: Global Patterns, Trends, and Trade Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 478-81, May.
  9. Eric J. Bartelsman & Wayne Gray, 1996. "The NBER Manufacturing Productivity Database," NBER Technical Working Papers 0205, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Josh Ederington & Jenny Minier, 2003. "Is environmental policy a secondary trade barrier? An empirical analysis," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 36(1), pages 137-154, February.
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