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Why are firms that export cleaner? International trade, Abatement and Environmental Emissions

Author

Listed:
  • Forslid, Rikard

    (Stockholm University and CEPR)

  • Okubo, Toshihiro

    (Keio university)

  • Ulltveit-Moe, Karen Helene

    (University of Oslo and CEPR)

Abstract

This paper develops a theoretical model of trade and environmental emissions with heterogeneous firms, where firms make abatement investments and thereby affect their level of emissions. We show that investments in abatement are positively related to firm productivity and firm exports, while emission intensity is negatively related to firms' productivity and exports. The basic reason for these results is that a larger production scale supports more investments in abatement and, in turn, reduces emissions per output. We find that trade liberalization weeds out the least productive and dirtiest firms thereby shifting production away from relatively dirty low productive local firms to more productive and cleaner exporters. The overall effect of trade is therefore to reduce emissions. We test the empirical implications of the model on emission intensity, abatement and exporting using firm-level data from Sweden. The empirical results support our model.

Suggested Citation

  • Forslid, Rikard & Okubo, Toshihiro & Ulltveit-Moe, Karen Helene, 2015. "Why are firms that export cleaner? International trade, Abatement and Environmental Emissions," Research Papers in Economics 2015:2, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:sunrpe:2015_0002
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Heterogeneous firms; environmental emissions; abatement; international trade;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F18 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Environment
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth

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