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Environmental Policies and Productivity Growth: A Critical Review of Empirical Findings

Author

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  • Tomasz Koźluk

    (OECD)

  • Vera Zipperer

    (OECD)

Abstract

The economic effects of environmental policies are of central interest to policymakers. The traditional approach sees environmental policies as a burden on economic activity, at least in the short to medium term, as they raise costs without increasing output and restrict the set of production technologies and outputs. In contrast, the Porter Hypothesis claims that well-designed environmental policies can provide a ‘free lunch’ – encouraging innovation, bringing about gains in profitability and productivity that can outweigh the costs of the policy. This paper reviews the empirical evidence on the link between environmental policy stringency and productivity growth, and the various channels through which such effects can take place. The results are ambiguous, in particular as many of the studies are fragile and context-specific, impeding the generalisation of conclusions. Practical problems related to data, measurement and estimation strategies are discussed, leading to suggestions how they can be addressed in future research. These include: improving the measurement of environmental policy stringency; investigating into effects of different types of instruments and details of instrument design; exploiting cross-country variation; and the complementary use of different levels of aggregation. Politiques environnementales et croissance de la productivité : Un examen critique des résultats Les effets économiques des politiques environnementales revêtent un intérêt crucial pour les responsables de l'action publique. Suivant l'approche classique, les politiques environnementales sont considérées comme un fardeau pour l'activité économique, au moins dans une perspective de court à moyen terme, étant donné qu'elles entraînent une hausse des coûts sans pour autant faire augmenter la production et qu'elles limitent l'éventail des technologies de production et des produits. À l'inverse, suivant l'hypothèse de Porter, des politiques environnementales judicieusement conçues peuvent procurer des avantages sans contrepartie, en encourageant l'innovation et en débouchant sur des gains de rentabilité et de productivité qui peuvent l'emporter sur les coûts des politiques considérées. Nous examinons dans ce document de travail les données empiriques relatives à la relation existant entre la rigueur des politiques environnementales et la croissance de la productivité, ainsi que les différents canaux via lesquels les effets considérés peuvent se produire. Les résultats de cet examen sont ambigus, notamment dans la mesure où de nombreuses études sont fragiles et spécifiquement liées à un contexte donné, ce qui ne permet pas d'en généraliser les conclusions. Des problèmes pratiques liés aux données ainsi qu'aux stratégies de mesure et d'estimation sont examinés, et des propositions sont formulées en vue d'y remédier dans le cadre de futurs travaux de recherche. Il est notamment suggéré d'améliorer la mesure de la rigueur des politiques environnementales, d'analyser les effets des différents types d'instruments et d'examiner en détail leur conception, d'exploiter les variations observées entre pays, et d'utiliser de manière complémentaire différents niveaux d'agrégation.

Suggested Citation

  • Tomasz Koźluk & Vera Zipperer, 2013. "Environmental Policies and Productivity Growth: A Critical Review of Empirical Findings," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1096, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:1096-en
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    File URL: https://doi.org/10.1787/5k3w725lhgf6-en
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    Cited by:

    1. Rubashkina, Yana & Galeotti, Marzio & Verdolini, Elena, 2015. "Environmental regulation and competitiveness: Empirical evidence on the Porter Hypothesis from European manufacturing sectors," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 288-300.
    2. repec:oup:renvpo:v:11:y:2017:i:2:p:183-206. is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Albrizio, Silvia & Kozluk, Tomasz & Zipperer, Vera, 2017. "Environmental policies and productivity growth: Evidence across industries and firms," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 209-226.
    4. repec:kap:enreec:v:73:y:2019:i:4:d:10.1007_s10640-018-0300-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:eee:respol:v:47:y:2018:i:6:p:1018-1031 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Borghesi, Simone & Cainelli, Giulio & Mazzanti, Massimiliano, 2015. "Linking emission trading to environmental innovation: Evidence from the Italian manufacturing industry," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 669-683.
    7. Åsa Johansson, 2016. "Public Finance, Economic Growth and Inequality: A Survey of the Evidence," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1346, OECD Publishing.
    8. Morales-Lage, Rafael & Bengochea-Morancho, Aurelia & Martínez-Zarzoso, Inmaculada, 2016. "Does environmental policy stringency foster innovation and productivity in OECD countries?," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 282, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    9. Dechezlepretre, Antoine & Sato, Misato, 2017. "The impacts of environmental regulations on competitiveness," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 77700, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    10. Spyros Arvanitis & Michael Peneder & Christian Rammer & Tobias Stucki & Martin Wörter, 2016. "Development and Utilization of Energy-related Technologies, Economic Performance and the Role of Policy Instruments," KOF Working papers 16-419, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
    11. repec:eee:tefoso:v:122:y:2017:i:c:p:49-62 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. repec:gam:jeners:v:12:y:2019:i:12:p:2296-:d:240294 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. repec:eee:jeeman:v:96:y:2019:i:c:p:1-21 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Antonietti, Roberto & Marzucchi, Alberto, 2014. "Green tangible investment strategies and export performance: A firm-level investigation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 150-161.
    15. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:12:p:2323-:d:122721 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. De Santis R. & Jona Lasinio C., 2016. "Environmental Policies, Innovation and Productivity in the EU," Global Economy Journal, De Gruyter, vol. 16(4), pages 615-635, December.
    17. repec:prg:jnlpep:v:preprint:id:715:p:1-20 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. David Oliveira & Isabel Mendes, 2017. "Green Taxation on Competitiveness: The Effect of the ISP Tax on the Portuguese Retail Sector of Road Fuels," International Journal of Energy Economics and Policy, Econjournals, vol. 7(1), pages 178-184.
    19. Wang, Yan & Shen, Neng, 2016. "Environmental regulation and environmental productivity: The case of China," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 758-766.
    20. Xie, Rong-hui & Yuan, Yi-jun & Huang, Jing-jing, 2017. "Different Types of Environmental Regulations and Heterogeneous Influence on “Green” Productivity: Evidence from China," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 132(C), pages 104-112.
    21. Lorena D’Agostino, 2015. "How MNEs respond to environmental regulation: integrating the Porter hypothesis and the pollution haven hypothesis," Economia Politica: Journal of Analytical and Institutional Economics, Springer;Fondazione Edison, vol. 32(2), pages 245-269, August.
    22. Mundaca, Gabriela, 2017. "Energy subsidies, public investment and endogenous growth," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 693-709.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    environmental policy; hypothèse de Porter; innovation; innovation; politiques environnementales; Porter hypothesis; productivity; productivité;

    JEL classification:

    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence
    • Q50 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - General
    • Q55 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Technological Innovation
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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