The Competitiveness Impacts of Climate Change Mitigation Policies

Joseph E. Aldy, William A. Pizer

NBER Working Paper No. 17705
Issued in December 2011
NBER Program(s):   EEE   ITI

The pollution haven hypothesis suggests that unilateral domestic climate change mitigation policy would impose significant economic costs on carbon-intensive industries, resulting in declining output and increasing net imports. In order to evaluate this hypothesis, we undertake a two-step empirical analysis. First, we use historic energy prices as a proxy for climate change mitigation policy. We estimate how production and net imports change in response to energy prices using a 35-year panel of approximately 450 U.S. manufacturing industries. Second, we take these estimated relationships and use them to simulate the impacts of changes in energy prices resulting from a domestic climate change mitigation policy that effectively imposes a $15 per ton carbon price. We find that energy-intensive manufacturing industries are more likely to experience decreases in production and increases in net imports than less-intensive industries. Our best estimate is that competitiveness effects – measured by the increase in net imports – are as large as 0.8 percent for the most energy-intensive industries and represent no more than about one-sixth of the estimated decrease in production under a $15 per ton carbon price.

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This paper was revised on July 27, 2015

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w17705

Published: Joseph E. Aldy & William A. Pizer, 2015. "The Competitiveness Impacts of Climate Change Mitigation Policies," Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(4), pages 565 - 595. citation courtesy of

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