U.S. Trade in Toxics: The Case of Chlorodifluoromethane (HCFC-22)

27 Pages Posted: 21 Sep 2009

See all articles by Randy A. Becker

Randy A. Becker

U.S. Census Bureau - Center for Economic Studies

John P. Tang

ANU Research School of Economics

Date Written: September 1, 2009

Abstract

This paper explores whether environmental regulation affects where pollution-intensive goods are produced. Here we examine chlorodifluoromethane (HCFC-22), a chemical designated as toxic in 1994 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxics Release Inventory (TRI). Trends show a decline in the number of domestic producers of this chemical, a decline in the number of manufacturing facilities using it, and an increase in the number (and share) of facilities claiming to import it. Transaction-level trade data show an increase in the import of HCFC-22 imports since its TRI listing - an increase that is faster than that of all non-TRI listed chemicals. This is suggestive of a pollution haven effect. Meanwhile, we find that the vast majority of U.S. imports of HCFC-22 come from OECD countries. However, an increase in the share of imports from non-OECD countries since the chemical’s listing suggests a shift of production to countries with more lax environmental standards. While the findings here are suggestive of regulatory effects, more rigorous analyses are needed to rule out other possible explanations.

Suggested Citation

Becker, Randy A. and Tang, John P., U.S. Trade in Toxics: The Case of Chlorodifluoromethane (HCFC-22) (September 1, 2009). US Census Bureau Center for Economic Studies Paper No. CES-WP- 09-29, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1476489 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1476489

Randy A. Becker

U.S. Census Bureau - Center for Economic Studies ( email )

4600 Silver Hill Road
Washington, DC 20233
United States

John P. Tang (Contact Author)

ANU Research School of Economics ( email )

LF Crisp Building 26
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200
Australia

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