Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 15 No. 3 (Summer 2001)


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Bridging the Trade-Environment Divide

Article Citation

Esty, Daniel C. 2001. "Bridging the Trade-Environment Divide." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 15(3): 113-130.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.15.3.113


Perceived conflict between trade liberalization and environmental protection can be traced to a number of issues. Some tensions relate to the environmental Kuznets curve and whether economic growth yields environmental benefits. Other concerns arise from efforts to address transboundary externalities and disputes over the role of trade measures as an environmental enforcement tool. Another set of issues centers on the risk of a race-toward-the-bottom regulatory dynamic and the limits of legitimate comparative advantage. This paper argues that, in an ecologically and economically interdependent world, trade and environmental policies are inescapably linked as a matter of descriptive reality and normative necessity.

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Esty, Daniel C. (Yale U)

JEL Classifications

F18: Trade and Environment
F16: Trade and Labor Market Interactions
F13: Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
Q28: Renewable Resources and Conservation: Government Policy


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