Can Trade Be Good for the Environment?

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Date
2016-01-01
Authors
Lapan, Harvey
Sikdar, Shiva
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Economics

The Department of Economic Science was founded in 1898 to teach economic theory as a truth of industrial life, and was very much concerned with applying economics to business and industry, particularly agriculture. Between 1910 and 1967 it showed the growing influence of other social studies, such as sociology, history, and political science. Today it encompasses the majors of Agricultural Business (preparing for agricultural finance and management), Business Economics, and Economics (for advanced studies in business or economics or for careers in financing, management, insurance, etc).

History
The Department of Economic Science was founded in 1898 under the Division of Industrial Science (later College of Liberal Arts and Sciences); it became co-directed by the Division of Agriculture in 1919. In 1910 it became the Department of Economics and Political Science. In 1913 it became the Department of Applied Economics and Social Science; in 1924 it became the Department of Economics, History, and Sociology; in 1931 it became the Department of Economics and Sociology. In 1967 it became the Department of Economics, and in 2007 it became co-directed by the Colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Business.

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1898–present

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  • Department of Economic Science (1898–1910)
  • Department of Economics and Political Science (1910-1913)
  • Department of Applied Economics and Social Science (1913–1924)
  • Department of Economics, History and Sociology (1924–1931)
  • Department of Economics and Sociology (1931–1967)

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Abstract

We analyze the impact of trade in a differentiated good on environmental policy when there is local and transboundary pollution. In autarky, the (equivalent) pollution tax is set equal to the marginal damage from own emissions. If the strategic policy instrument is a tax, leakage occurs under trade and tends to lower the tax. The net terms of trade effect, due to the exportable and importable varieties of the differentiated good, tends to increase the tax. We derive conditions under which pollution taxes under trade are higher than the marginal damage from own emissions, i.e., higher than the Pigouvian tax and than that under autarky. Then, pollution fallsunder trade relative to autarky. When countries use quotas/permits to regulate pollution, there isno leakage, while the net terms of trade effect tends to make pollution policy stricter. The equivalent tax is always higher than the marginal damage from own emissions, i.e., always higherthan the Pigouvian tax and than that under autarky; hence, pollution always falls under trade. Our analysis provides some insight into the findings in the empirical literature that trade might be good for the environment.

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This is a working paper of an article from Journal of Public Economic Theory (2016), doi: 10.1111/jpet.12176.

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