Three Essays on Environmental Economics and International Trade

  • Sean King Blaed

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    The environmental impact of international trade has become an important issue, especially in emerging economies, due to their increasingly important roles in world trade, economic and environmental issues. This thesis is concerned with understanding the relationship between trade and the environment in the context of four emerging economies: Brazil, South Africa, India, and China (BASIC) as well as Chinese provinces.
    We first look at the relationship between economic growth, international trade and environmental degradation in BASIC. The attention is then turned to evaluate different and countervailing effects of international trade (scale, technique and composition effects) on the environment in Chinese provinces. In the last essay, we investigate empirically the impacts of international trade on China’s sustainable development using Chinese provincial Green GDP data.
    The main conclusions that can be reached from our studies can be summarised as follows. First, little evidence is found to support either the Pollution Haven Hypothesis or the Factor Endowment Hypothesis in BASIC countries, indicating that international trade is not leading to BASIC countries becoming pollution havens. This result should not come with surprise, since it is evident that international trade does not cause significant compositional changes towards dirty industries in BASIC. Second, we find evidence that trade openness and FDI inflows are “good for the environment” as they reduce pollution in Chinese provinces, thus indicating international trade does not lead to Chinese provinces becoming pollution havens. Last but not least, international trade has a positive non-linear effect on China’s sustainable development, implying the relationship between international trade and sustainable development in Chinese provinces has an inverted-U shape.
    Date of Award2014
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorYin Zhang (Supervisor), Hassan Molana (Supervisor) & Catia Montagna (Supervisor)

    Cite this