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http://ssrn.com/abstract=1754674
 
 

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The Porter Hypothesis at 20: Can Environmental Regulation Enhance Innovation and Competitiveness?


Stefan Ambec


National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) - GAEL

Mark A. Cohen


Vanderbilt University - Owen Graduate School of Management; Vanderbilt University - Law School; Resources for the Future

Stewart Elgie


University of Ottawa - Common Law Section

Paul Lanoie


HEC Montreal - Institute of Applied Economics

January 18, 2011

Resources for the Future Discussion Paper No. 11-01

Abstract:     
Twenty years ago, Harvard Business School economist and strategy professor Michael Porter stood conventional wisdom about the impact of environmental regulation on business on its head by declaring that well-designed regulation could actually enhance competitiveness. The traditional view of environmental regulation held by virtually all economists until that time was that requiring firms to reduce an externality like pollution necessarily restricted their options and thus by definition reduced their profits. After all, if profitable opportunities existed to reduce pollution, profit-maximizing firms would already be taking advantage of those opportunities. Over the past 20 years, much has been written about what has since become known simply as the Porter Hypothesis (PH). Yet even today, we find conflicting evidence and alternative theories that might explain the PH, and oftentimes a misunderstanding of what the PH does and does not say. This paper provides an overview of the key theoretical and empirical insights into the PH to date, draws policy implications from these insights, and sketches out major research themes going forward.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 31

Keywords: Porter Hypothesis, Environmental Policy, Innovation, Performance

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Date posted: February 9, 2011  

Suggested Citation

Ambec, Stefan and Cohen, Mark A. and Elgie, Stewart and Lanoie, Paul, The Porter Hypothesis at 20: Can Environmental Regulation Enhance Innovation and Competitiveness? (January 18, 2011). Resources for the Future Discussion Paper No. 11-01. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1754674 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1754674

Contact Information

Stefan Ambec
National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) - GAEL ( email )
BP 47
38040 Grenoble
France
Mark A. Cohen (Contact Author)
Vanderbilt University - Owen Graduate School of Management ( email )
401 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203
United States
615-322-0533 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://www.mba.vanderbilt.edu/faculty/mcohen.cfm
Vanderbilt University - Law School
131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181
United States
Resources for the Future ( email )
1616 P Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States
202-328-5000 (Phone)
Stewart Elgie
University of Ottawa - Common Law Section ( email )
57 Louis Pasteur Street
Ottawa, K1N 6N5
Canada

Paul Lanoie
HEC Montreal - Institute of Applied Economics ( email )
3000, ch. de la Côte-Ste-Catherine
Montréal, Quebec H3T 2A7
Canada
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