The effects of environmental regulations on waste trade, clean innovation, and competitiveness in a globalized world

Abstract : In a globalized world, unilateral environmental policies may fail to correct market failures from a global point of view. In this dissertation, I examine some mechanisms through which environmental regulations could lead to inefficient outcomes under free trade. I also investigate how particular environmental policies such as recycling policies can help to address other concerns at the country level. In the first chapter of this dissertation, I analyze how cross-country difference in waste taxes impacts the bilateral trade in waste between the member states of the European Union. I find that a higher asymmetry in the waste taxes is associated with a non negligible amount of waste exported from strict countries to lax countries. This result illustrates the harmful impact that "race to the bottom" behaviours can have under free trade. This result has important policy implications since these behaviours can lead to an insufficient internalization of the environmental damages caused by waste management activities. Recycling policies are implemented to reduce environmental impacts but they can also mitigate country dependence on foreign raw materials. In the second chapter, I find that recycling policies substantially reduce country dependence on foreign raw materials by stimulating domestic production of secondary raw materials. In the third chapter, I test empirically whether offshoring to low-production-cost countries reduces firms' propensity to innovate in clean technologies. I find that trade with low-cost countries may have significantly reduced green innovation in high production cost countries during the last decades. In the last chapter, I use micro-data on French manufacturing to test a major part of the assumptions made in the seminal work of Porter and van der Linde. I find evidence against the Porter Hypothesis although the negative impact of regulations on firm profitability is rather small. This is evidence of a necessary but not sufficient condition for the Pollution Haven Hypothesis.
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Damien Dussaux. The effects of environmental regulations on waste trade, clean innovation, and competitiveness in a globalized world. Economies and finances. Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Paris, 2015. English. ⟨NNT : 2015ENMP0047⟩. ⟨tel-01303772⟩

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