Trade and commodity taxes as environmental instruments in an open economy

Koska O. A., Stahler F., Yeni O.

JOURNAL OF ECONOMIC STUDIES, vol.48, no.2, pp.333-353, 2021 (ESCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 48 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1108/jes-08-2019-0362
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, IBZ Online, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, ABI/INFORM, Business Source Elite, Business Source Premier, EconLit, Public Affairs Index
  • Page Numbers: pp.333-353
  • Keywords: International trade, Consumption-generated pollution, Trade policy, Commodity taxes, F12, F18, INTERNATIONAL-TRADE, POLICIES, CHOICE
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Purpose In a simple reciprocal dumping model of trade, this study scrutinizes the strategic role of trade and commodity taxes as environmental instruments when consumption of an imported product generates pollution. The results suggest that for sufficiently small values of the marginal disutility from pollution, commodity taxes can be preferred over import tariffs, and compared to the case of trade policies, free trade can be welfare dominating even for higher values of the marginal disutility from pollution when commodity taxes are used strategically as environmental instruments. Design/methodology/approach The authors employ a reciprocal dumping model of trade. Findings A sufficiently high marginal disutility from pollution (or sufficient asymmetries between the countries in terms of their marginal disutility from pollution) may jeopardize bilateral trade, especially if countries are given the option to set tariffs freely for imported goods (consumption of which generate environmental pollution). For sufficiently weak transboundary pollution and sufficiently low marginal disutility from pollution, (1) both Nash trade and domestic policies may prove to be helpful in addressing consumption-based pollution, and (2) it is possible to show in such a case that Nash domestic policies may be preferred over Nash trade policies, especially when both transboundary pollution and the trading partner's marginal disutility from pollution are sufficiently low. Originality/value The novel contribution of this paper is (1) to capture asymmetries among trading partners in terms of how much they account for environmental pollution when deciding on their (domestic/trade) policy measures and (2) to focus on environmental degradation that is caused by final consumption of a product imported from a trading partner.