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Clean Technological Change in Developing-Country Industrial Clusters: Mexican Leather Tanning


  • Blackman, Allen

    () (Resources for the Future)

  • Kildegaard, Arne


In many cities in developing countries, clusters of small and medium enterprises create severe pollution problems. Because conventional regulatory approaches are typically ineffective in such situations, policy responses have increasingly focused on promoting voluntary clean technological change. Yet the data and analysis needed to guide such efforts are scarce. This paper uses original firmlevel survey data on a cluster of small- and medium-scale leather tanneries in León, Guanajuato— Mexico’s leather capital—to econometrically identify the factors that drive the adoption of three clean tanning technologies. Using a multivariate probit model to estimate a system of seemingly unrelated regressions, we find—in contrast to conventional wisdom—that neither firm size nor regulatory pressure is correlated with adoption. Rather, the drivers of adoption are the firm’s human capital and stock of technical information, the same factors that explain conventional productivity-enhancing technological change. We also find that private-sector trade associations and input suppliers are important sources of technical information about clean technologies.

Suggested Citation

  • Blackman, Allen & Kildegaard, Arne, 2003. "Clean Technological Change in Developing-Country Industrial Clusters: Mexican Leather Tanning," Discussion Papers dp-03-12-rev, Resources For the Future.
  • Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-03-12-rev

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Suzi Kerr & Richard G. Newell, 2003. "Policy-Induced Technology Adoption: Evidence from the U.S. Lead Phasedown," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(3), pages 317-343, September.
    2. JunJie Wu & Bruce A. Babcock & P. G. Lakshminarayan, 1996. "Choice of Tillage, Rotation, and Soil Testing Practices: Economic and Environmental Implications, The," Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) Publications 96-wp161, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University.
    3. Stavins, Robert & Jaffe, Adam & Newell, Richard, 2000. "Technological Change and the Environment," Working Paper Series rwp00-002, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    4. Blackman, Allen & Shih, Jhih-Shyang & Evans, David & Batz, Michael & Newbold, Stephen & Cook, Joseph, 2006. "The benefits and costs of informal sector pollution control: Mexican brick kilns," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(05), pages 603-627, October.
    5. Ramírez, Octavio A. & Shultz, Steven D., 2000. "Poisson Count Models to Explain the Adoption of Agricultural and Natural Resource Management Technologies by Small Farmers in Central American Countries," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 32(01), pages 21-33, April.
    6. Wozniak, Gregory D, 1984. "The Adoption of Interrelated Innovations: A Human Capital Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 66(1), pages 70-79, February.
    7. JunJie Wu & Bruce A. Babcock, 1998. "The Choice of Tillage, Rotation, and Soil Testing Practices: Economic and Environmental Implications," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 80(3), pages 494-511.
    8. Feder, Gershon & Lau, Lawrence J. & Lin, Justin Y. & Xiaopeng Luo, 1991. "Credit's effect on productivity in Chinese agriculture : a microeconomic model of disequilibrium," Policy Research Working Paper Series 571, The World Bank.
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    Cited by:

    1. Popp, David & Newell, Richard G. & Jaffe, Adam B., 2010. "Energy, the Environment, and Technological Change," Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, Elsevier.
    2. Blackman, Allen, 2009. "Alternative Pollution Control Policies in Developing Countries: Informal, Informational, and Voluntary," Discussion Papers dp-09-10, Resources For the Future.
    3. Peter Lund-Thomsen & Adam Lindgreen & Joelle Vanhamme, 2016. "Industrial Clusters and Corporate Social Responsibility in Developing Countries: What We Know, What We do not Know, and What We Need to Know," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 133(1), pages 9-24, January.
    4. Boris Bravo & Horacio Cocchi & Daniel Solís, 2006. "Output Diversification Among Small-Scale Hillside Farmers In El Salvador," OVE Working Papers 1706, Inter-American Development Bank, Office of Evaluation and Oversight (OVE).
    5. Blackman, Allen & Sisto, Nicholas, 2005. "Muddling Through while Environmental Regulatory Capacity Evolves: What Role for Voluntary Agreements?," Discussion Papers dp-05-16, Resources For the Future.
    6. Lan, Jing & Munro, Alistair, 2013. "Environmental compliance and human capital: Evidence from Chinese industrial firms," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 534-557.
    7. Boris E. Bravo-Ureta & Horacio Cocchi & Daniel Solís, 2006. "Output Diversification among Small-Scale Hillside Farmers in El Salvador," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 3012, Inter-American Development Bank.

    More about this item


    clean technology; developing country; small and medium enterprises; Mexico; multivariate probit;

    JEL classification:

    • Q25 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Water
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • Q28 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Government Policy

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