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How Trade Politics Affect Invasive Species Control


  • Margolis, Michael
  • Shogren, Jason


Trade has become the main mode of transport for many invasive species including diseases and agricultural pests. Most species are brought to their new homes unintentionally, which constitute a market failure rooted in international trade. Unless it is practical to drive invasion risk to zero, the external costs may justify a tariff. In this paper we analyze the political process likely to govern the formation of tariffs so justified, using a straightforward incorporation of an invasive species externality into Grossman and Helpman’s well-known political economy model. We show our measure of disguised protectionism—the gap between the optimal tariff and that set in the equilibrium of the political economy game—is equal to the tariff that would be set if there were no invasive species and no international disciplines on trade policy. The informational needs required to distinguish disguised protectionism from legitimate public-goods protection are formidable.

Suggested Citation

  • Margolis, Michael & Shogren, Jason, 2004. "How Trade Politics Affect Invasive Species Control," Discussion Papers dp-04-07, Resources For the Future.
  • Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-04-07

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gary Clyde Hufbauer & Daniel C. Esty & Diana Orejas, 2000. "NAFTA and the Environment: Seven Years Later," Peterson Institute Press: Policy Analyses in International Economics, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number pa61, October.
    2. repec:wsi:wschap:9789814569156_0009 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. B. Douglas Bernheim & Michael D. Whinston, 1986. "Menu Auctions, Resource Allocation, and Economic Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 101(1), pages 1-31.
    4. Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1994. "Protection for Sale," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 833-850, September.
    5. Gawande, Kishore, 1997. "US non-tariff barriers as privately provided public goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 61-81, April.
    6. 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.
    7. Pimentel, David & Zuniga, Rodolfo & Morrison, Doug, 2005. "Update on the environmental and economic costs associated with alien-invasive species in the United States," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 273-288, February.
    8. Giovanni Maggi & Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg, 1999. "Protection for Sale: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1135-1155, December.
    9. Pauwelyn, Joost, 1998. "Evidence, Proof and Persuasion in WTO Dispute Settlement: Who Bears the Burden?," Journal of International Economic Law, Oxford University Press, vol. 1(2), pages 227-258, June.
    10. Aidt, Toke S., 1998. "Political internalization of economic externalities and environmental policy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 1-16, July.
    11. McAusland, Carol & Costello, Christopher, 2004. "Avoiding invasives: trade-related policies for controlling unintentional exotic species introductions," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 954-977, September.
    12. Devashish Mitra & Dimitrios D. Thomakos & Mehmet A. Ulubaşoğlu, 2016. "“Protection For Sale” In A Developing Country: Democracy Vs. Dictatorship," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: The Political Economy of Trade Policy Theory, Evidence and Applications, chapter 9, pages 163-174 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
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    More about this item


    invasive species; protectionism; tariff; political economy;

    JEL classification:

    • Q17 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agriculture in International Trade
    • 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
    • Q57 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Ecological Economics

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