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A Simple Model of Trade, Capital Mobility, and the Environment


  • Brian R. Copeland
  • M. Scott Taylor


This paper examines the interaction between relative factor abundance and income-induced policy differences in determining the pattern of trade and the effect of trade liberalization on pollution. If a rich and capital abundant North trades with a poor and labor abundant South, then free trade lowers world pollution. Trade shifts the production of pollution intensive industries to the capital abundant North despite its stricter pollution regulations. Pollution levels rise in the North while those in the South fall. These results can be reversed however if the North-South income gap is "too large," in this case, the pattern of trade is driven by income-induced pollution policy differences across countries. Capital mobility may raise or lower world pollution depending on the pattern of trade.

Suggested Citation

  • Brian R. Copeland & M. Scott Taylor, 1997. "A Simple Model of Trade, Capital Mobility, and the Environment," NBER Working Papers 5898, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5898
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Copeland, Brian R & Taylor, M Scott, 1995. "Trade and Transboundary Pollution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 716-737, September.
    2. Daly, Herman & Goodland, Robert, 1994. "An ecological-economic assessment of deregulation of international commerce under GATT," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 73-92, January.
    3. Brian R. Copeland & M. Scott Taylor, 1994. "North-South Trade and the Environment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(3), pages 755-787.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ferrara, Ida & Missios, Paul & Murat Yildiz, Halis, 2009. "Trading rules and the environment: Does equal treatment lead to a cleaner world?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 206-225, September.
    2. Brian R. Copeland & M. Scott Taylor, 2004. "Trade, Growth, and the Environment," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(1), pages 7-71, March.
    3. Svetlana Batrakova & Ronald Davies, 2012. "Is there an environmental benefit to being an exporter? Evidence from firm-level data," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 148(3), pages 449-474, September.
    4. Michele Imbruno & Tobias Ketterer, 2016. "Energy efficiency gains from trade in intermediate inputs: firm-level evidence from Indonesia," GRI Working Papers 244, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
    5. Beladi, Hamid & Chao, Chi-Chur & Frasca, Ralph, 1999. "Foreign investment and environmental regulations in LDCs," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 191-199, May.
    6. Chander, Parkash & Khan, M. Ali, 2001. "International treaties on trade and global pollution," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 303-324, December.
    7. Jie HE, 2005. "Economic Determinants for China’s Industrial SO2 Emission: Reduced vs. Structural form and the role of international trade," Working Papers 200505, CERDI.
    8. Bidisha Lahiri, 2017. "Dissimilar Relations Between Income and Environmental Quality for Open Economies in a Growth Model," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan;Eastern Economic Association, vol. 43(1), pages 104-127, January.
    9. He, Jie, 2006. "Pollution haven hypothesis and environmental impacts of foreign direct investment: The case of industrial emission of sulfur dioxide (SO2) in Chinese provinces," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 228-245, November.
    10. Roberto Burguet & Jaime Sempere, "undated". "North-South Environmental Debate: Strategic Price Distortions And Capital Flows," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 442.99, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
    11. Meeta K. Mehra, "undated". "North-South Capital Movement and Global Environment," Centre for International Trade and Development, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi Discussion Papers 09-12, Centre for International Trade and Development, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India.
    12. He, Jie, 2005. "Estimating the economic cost of China's new desulfur policy during her gradual accession to WTO: The case of industrial SO2 emission," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 364-402.
    13. Neequaye, Nii Amon & Oladi, Reza, 2015. "Environment, growth, and FDI revisited," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 47-56.
    14. Hernandez, Pablo, 2004. "Mexico's Maquiladora expansion during the 1990s: an environmental assessment," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 163-185, June.
    15. Haixiao Huang, Walter C. Labys, 2002. "Environment and trade: a review of issues and methods," International Journal of Global Environmental Issues, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 2(1/2), pages 100-160.
    16. Giovanni Marin & Francesco Nicolli & Emy Zecca, 2017. "Drivers of international shipments of hazardous waste: the role of policy and technology endowment," SEEDS Working Papers 0117, SEEDS, Sustainability Environmental Economics and Dynamics Studies, revised Feb 2017.
    17. Jie HE, 2008. "Foreign Direct Investment And Air Pollution In China: Evidence From Chinese Cities," Region et Developpement, Region et Developpement, LEAD, Universite du Sud - Toulon Var, vol. 28, pages 131-150.
    18. Ren, Shenggang & Yuan, Baolong & Ma, Xie & Chen, Xiaohong, 2014. "International trade, FDI (foreign direct investment) and embodied CO2 emissions: A case study of Chinas industrial sectors," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 123-134.
    19. Arief Anshory Yusuf, 2005. "Who Pay for the Cleaner Air? Distributional Impact of Environmental Policy in a Dualistic Economy," Working Papers in Economics and Development Studies (WoPEDS) 200502, Department of Economics, Padjadjaran University, revised Feb 2005.

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