Costly Pollution Abatement, Competitiveness, and Plant Location Decisions

28 Pages Posted: 4 Aug 2000 Last revised: 23 Oct 2013

See all articles by James R. Markusen

James R. Markusen

University of Colorado at Boulder - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: March 1996

Abstract

The US-Mexico free-trade debate included some theoretical assertions that were then used as arguments against trade and investment liberalization. (1) Trade liberalization increases the degree to which production is internationally relocated in response to environmental restrictions (`environmental dumping'?). (2) Investment liberalization, leading to multinational firms, similarly increases the production and welfare response to costly environmental restrictions. This paper adapts an oligopoly model, in which multinationals can arise endogenously, to examine these arguments. The findings are: (1) Trade liberalization increases production sensitivity to costly environmental restrictions, but arguments against liberal trade on welfare grounds do not follow. (2) Multinationals do not increase the production-reallocation effect caused by environmental restrictions or regulations. The inter-firm reallocation of production by competitive market forces in the absence of multinationals is slightly larger than the intra-firm reallocation when multinationals are present. In addition, the paper finds that the form taken by cost increases is crucial: restrictions that fall on fixed costs (e.g., more efficient burners and motors) have much smaller effects on production and welfare than restrictions that fall on marginal costs (e.g., cleaner fuels).

Suggested Citation

Markusen, James R., Costly Pollution Abatement, Competitiveness, and Plant Location Decisions (March 1996). NBER Working Paper No. w5490. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=225521

James R. Markusen (Contact Author)

University of Colorado at Boulder - Department of Economics ( email )

Campus Box 256
Boulder, CO 80309
United States
303-492-0748 (Phone)
303-492-8960 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
34
Abstract Views
843
PlumX Metrics