Pollution Havens: An Analysis of Policy Options for Dealing with an Elusive Phenomenon
Journal of Environment and Development, Vol. 10, No. 2, pp. 147-177, June 2001
48 Pages Posted: 23 Jul 2001 Last revised: 5 Oct 2014
Date Written: July 7, 2010
One cannot expect developing countries to have the same environmental standards as developed ones. Standards can be at their efficiency levels and yet be lower than in developed countries due to differences in emissions, in the pollution absorptive capacity and in the intensity of environmental preferences. However, developing countries can be said to provide a "pollution haven" if they set environmental standards below their efficiency levels or fail to enforce their standards in order to attract foreign investment. This article analyses which factors can give rise to pollution havens and examines whether these factors are more likely to characterise the developing world. The evidence pertaining to pollution havens is reviewed. It is argued that in spite of the rather limited evidence for their existence it is nevertheless important to evaluate policy options for tackling (potential) pollution havens. A comprehensive range of options are evaluated according to whether they appear to be effective, politically realistic, development friendly, closed to abuse and not unnecessarily restrictive.
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