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Investigating the Relationship between Company Competitiveness and Environmental Regulation in European Food Processing: Results of a Matched Firm Comparison

D M W N Hitchens, J E Birnie, A McGowan, Ursula Triebswetter and A Cottica
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A Cottica: Eco and Eco, Strada Maggiore 29, Bologna 40125, Italy

Environment and Planning A, 1998, vol. 30, issue 9, 1585-1602

Abstract: The authors use a method of matched-plant comparisons between food processing firms in Germany, Italy, Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland to investigate the relationship between environmental regulation and company competitiveness across the European Union. Comparative competitiveness was indicated by measures of value-added per employee, physical productivity, export share, and employment growth. The cost of water supply (public or well), effluent treatment (in-plant treatment and/or sewerage system), and disposal of sludge and packaging were also compared. Total environmental costs in Germany, Italy, and Ireland were small: usually less than 1% of turnover. Compared with the Irish firms, German companies had relatively high environmental costs as well as productivity levels. There was, however, a lack of a clear relationship between company competitiveness and the size of regulation costs: in Ireland and Italy environmental costs were similar but German firms had much higher productivity; compared with German counterparts, Italian firms had lower environmental costs but higher productivity.

Date: 1998
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Handle: RePEc:sae:envira:v:30:y:1998:i:9:p:1585-1602