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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.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w5898.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5898.

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Date of creation: Jan 1997
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as "North-South Trade and the Environment", Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol.109, no.3 (1994): 755-787.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5898
Note: ITI
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  1. 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.
  2. Copeland, Brian R & Taylor, M Scott, 1994. "North-South Trade and the Environment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(3), pages 755-87, August.
  3. Copeland, Brian R & Taylor, M Scott, 1995. "Trade and Transboundary Pollution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 716-37, September.
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