Is Free Trade Good for the Environment?

Werner Antweiler, Brian R Copeland, M. Scott Taylor
2001 The American Economic Review  
This paper sets out a theory of how openness to international goods markets affects pollution concentrations. We develop a theoretical model to divide trade's impact on pollution into scale, technique and composition effects and then examine this theory using data on sulfur dioxide concentrations from the Global Environment Monitoring Project. We find international trade creates relatively small changes in pollution concentrations when it alters the composition, and hence the pollution
more » ... , of national output. Our estimates of the associated technique and scale effects created by trade imply a net reduction in pollution from these sources. Combining our estimates of scale, composition and technique effects yields a somewhat surprising conclusion: freer trade appears to be good for the environment. An earlier version of this paper was entitled, "Trade and the Environment: Theory and Empirical Results". We would like to thank, without implicating, P.
doi:10.1257/aer.91.4.877 fatcat:hnsgcp6rrjbcnh3g3rtkomzcsi