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The Demands for Environmental Regulation and for Trade in the Presence of Private Mitigation


  • Louis Hotte

    () (Department of Economics, University of Ottawa)

  • Stanley L. Winer

    () (School of Public Policy and Administration and Department of Economics, Carleton University)


We study the nature of individual demands for environmental regulation and for trade openness in the general equilibrium of a small open economy where the environment is an input to production. Differences in the ability of individuals to afford private mitigation of the adverse consequences of pollution is a central feature of the analysis. Private mitigation leads to an endogenous, unequal distribution of the health-related consequences of pollution across income groups in a manner consistent with epidemiologic studies, in contrast to much of the literature which assumes equal health effects for all. We show that when private mitigation is possible at a cost, trade polarizes the interests of rich and poor with respect to the stringency of regulation. Moreover, even though trade has the potential to benefit everyone, the poor may oppose trade openness because of a concern that laxer environmental regulation will then be imposed in the interest of the rich. We explain why and how heterogeneity in the intensity of preferences, and not just in their direction, is likely to play a role in the determination of collective choices with respect to the regulation of the environment and of trade. We conclude by drawing out the general implications of the analysis for the study of the political economy of the environmenttrade- welfare nexus.

Suggested Citation

  • Louis Hotte & Stanley L. Winer, 2008. "The Demands for Environmental Regulation and for Trade in the Presence of Private Mitigation," Working Papers 0810E, University of Ottawa, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ott:wpaper:0810e

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    12. Jamie Pearce & Simon Kingham & Peyman Zawar-Reza, 2006. "Every breath you take? Environmental justice and air pollution in Christchurch, New Zealand," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 38(5), pages 919-938, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sophie Bernard & Louis Hotte & Stanley L. Winer, 2010. "Democracy, Inequality and the Environment when Citizens can Mitigate Privately or Act Collectively," CESifo Working Paper Series 3241, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item


    regulation; environment; pollution; private mitigation; trade; welfare; collective choice;

    JEL classification:

    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
    • 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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