Exporting Pollution

Itzhak Ben-David, Stefanie Kleimeier, Michael Viehs

Research output: Working paper / PreprintWorking paper


Despite awareness of the detrimental impact of CO2 pollution on the world climate, countries vary widely in how they design and enforce environmental laws. Using novel micro data about firms’ CO2 emissions levels in their home and foreign countries, we document that firms headquartered in countries with strict environmental policies perform their polluting activities abroad in countries with relatively weaker policies. These effects are stronger for firms in high-polluting industries and with poor corporate governance characteristics. Although firms export pollution, they nevertheless emit less overall CO2 globally in response to strict environmental policies at home.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2018

Publication series

SeriesFisher College of Business Working Paper
NumberNo. 2018-03-20

JEL classifications

  • n50 - Economic History: Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment, and Extractive Industries: General, International, or Comparative
  • o13 - "Economic Development: Agriculture; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Other Primary Products"
  • q56 - "Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth"
  • r11 - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes


  • Pollution
  • Production
  • Pollution Haven Hypothesis

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