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Noncooperative Equilibria in Regional Environmental Policies When Plant Locations are Endogenous

  • James R. Markusen
  • Edward R. Morey
  • Nancy Olewiler

A two-region model is presented in which an imperfectly competitive firm produces a good with increasing returns at the plant level, and in which shipping costs exist between the two markets. Production of the good causes local pollution, and regional governments can levy pollution taxes or impose environmental regulations. The firm decides. partly on the basis of these environmental policy variables, whether to maintain plants in both regions, serve both regions from a single plant or shut down. A non-cooperative equilibrium in regional environmental policies occurs when each region is choosing the environmental policy that maximizes its welfare given the environmental policy in the other region. Two types of harmful tax (regulatory) competitions are documented. If the disutility of pollution is high enough, each region will only want the polluting good produced in the other region and the two regions will likely compete by increasing their environmental taxes (standards) until the polluting firm is driven from the market. This is the case of "Not in my backyard". Alternatively, if the disutility from pollution is not as great, each region will realize that their welfare could decrease if their environmental policy causes the firm to not operate in their region. In this case, the regions will usually compete by undercutting each others pollution tax rates (environmental standards).

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4051.

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Date of creation: Apr 1992
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Journal of Public Economics, Vol. 56, 1995, pp. 55-77.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4051
Note: ITI
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  1. Wildasin, David E., 1989. "Interjurisdictional capital mobility: Fiscal externality and a corrective subsidy," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 193-212, March.
  2. Wildasin, David E., 1988. "Nash equilibria in models of fiscal competition," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 229-240, March.
  3. James R. Markusen & Edward R. Morey & Nancy Olewiler, 1991. "Environmental Policy When Market Structure and Plant Locations are Endo-genous," NBER Working Papers 3671, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Mitchell, Robert Cameron & Carson, Richard T, 1986. "Property Rights, Protest, and the Siting of Hazardous Waste Facilities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 285-90, May.
  5. Ignatius J. Horstmann & James R. Markusen, 1990. "Endogenous Market Structures in International Trade," NBER Working Papers 3283, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Mintz, J. & Tulkens, H., 1984. "Commodity tax competition between member states of a federation: equilibrium and efficiency," CORE Discussion Papers 1984027, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  7. Markusen, James R, 1975. "Cooperative Control of International Pollution and Common Property Resources," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 89(4), pages 618-32, November.
  8. Charles M. Tiebout, 1956. "A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64, pages 416.
  9. Oates, Wallace E. & Schwab, Robert M., 1988. "Economic competition among jurisdictions: efficiency enhancing or distortion inducing?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 333-354, April.
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