Title

Strategic environmental policy under free trade with transboundary pollution

Campus Units

Economics

Document Type

Article

Publication Version

Published Version

Publication Date

2011

Journal or Book Title

Review of Development Economics

Volume

15

Issue

1

First Page or Article ID Number

1

Last Page

18

DOI

10.1111/j.1467-9361.2010.00589.x

Abstract

We analyze the effects of trade liberalization on environmental policies in a strategic setting when there is transboundary pollution.Trade liberalization can result in a race to the bottom in environmental taxes, which makes both countries worse off. This is not due to the terms of trade motive, but rather the incentive, in a strategic setting, to reduce the incidence of transboundary pollution. With command and control policies (emission quotas), countries are unable to influence foreign emissions by strategic choice of domestic policy; hence, there is no race to the bottom. However, with internationally tradable quotas, unless pollution is a pure global public bad, there is a race to the bottom in environmental policy. Under free trade, internationally nontradable quotas result in the lowest pollution level and strictly welfare-dominate taxes. The ordering of internationally tradable quotas and pollution taxes depends, among other things, on the degree of international pollution spillovers

JEL Classification

D62, F18, H23, Q56

Comments

This is a working paper of an article from Review of Development Economics 15 (2011): 1, doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9361.2010.00589.x .