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Technology, International Trade, and Pollution from U.S. Manufacturing

Arik Levinson ()

No 13616, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

Abstract: Total pollution emitted by U.S. manufacturers declined over the past 30 years by about 60 percent, even though real manufacturing output increased 70 percent. This improvement must result from a combination of two trends: (1) changes in production or abatement processes ("technology"); or (2) changes in the mix of goods manufactured in the United States, which itself may result from increased net imports of pollution-intensive goods ("international trade"). I first show that most of the decline in pollution from U.S. manufacturing has been the result of changing technology, rather than changes in the mix of goods produced, although the pace of that technology change has slowed over time. Second, I present evidence that increases in net imports of pollution-intensive goods are too small to explain more than about half of the pollution reductions from the changing mix of goods produced in the United States. Together, these two findings demonstrate that shifting polluting industries overseas has played at most a minor role in the cleanup of U.S. manufacturing.

JEL-codes: D57 F18 Q55 Q56 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-env and nep-int
Date: 2007-11
Note: EEE IO ITI
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Published as Arik Levinson, 2009. "Technology, International Trade, and Pollution from US Manufacturing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(5), pages 2177-92, December.

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Journal Article: Technology, International Trade, and Pollution from US Manufacturing (2009) Downloads
Working Paper: Technology, International Trade, and Pollution from U.S. Manufacturing (2008) Downloads
Working Paper: Technology, International Trade, and Pollution from U.S. Manufacturing (2007) Downloads
Working Paper: Technology, International Trade, and Pollution from U.S. Manufacturing (2007) Downloads
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