Pollution Havens and the Trade in Toxic Chemicals: Evidence from U.S. Trade Flows
26 Pages Posted: 19 Jun 2010
Date Written: June 1, 2010
Does increased environmental protection decrease the emission of pollutants or merely displace them? Using newly available trade data, this study examines the flows of a panel of chemicals designated as toxic by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxics Release Inventory (TRI). Estimates from a differences-in-differences model indicate a significant increase in net imports when a chemical is listed on TRI, which suggests production off-shoring. Furthermore, I find that increased imports due to this “pollution haven effect” are sourced disproportionately from poorer countries, which are likely to have lower environmental protection standards. At the same time, I observe the bulk of American trade in toxic chemicals occurs with other wealthy countries, which may be attributed to the capital intensity of chemical production.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation