As a requirement to get my bachelor's in economics, I have to write a paper. The theme I picked is something along the lines of "the impact of environmental crimes and regulation on international trade". The problem is I've always worked on topics that are based on microeconomics, never on macroeconomics.

Therefore, I'd like to ask for paper recommendations on international trade, if possible related to environmental issues, as a way for me to develop a solid foundation regarding this macroeconomic topic.

I'll also be consulting Krugman's book, but I feel reading some papers that use theories and models tailored to international trade might be very useful.

I appreciate any help!

Feel free to ask for any clarifications if needed.

Kind regards, Pedro.


2 Answers 2


I have to disagree with the previous answer. There is quite a large literature on international trade and the effect of environmental regulations. To start off there is the whole race to the bottom literature and the environmental Kuznet's curve. A good start of trade versus the environment is given in Esty's 2001 Bridging the Trade-Environment Divide (found a.o. here). Copeland and Scott Taylor have a 2004 article on international trade, growth and the environment in the journal of economic literature.

As for trade in natural resources and related trade policies Ruta and Venables have an overview paper here.

For a more general equilibrium model on differences in environmental regulations and how that affects trade you could start at Chichilnisky's 1993 North-South trade and the dynamics of renewable resources (here).

  • $\begingroup$ Wow, thank you so much @Maarten! You've provided a lot of resources and I'll be sure to read each one of them. Thanks again! $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 2, 2019 at 19:32

Generally trade occurs in scammy goods like cash crops, iPhones, luxury cars and other high end items that have little material cost. Their environmental footprint would be minimal. That's why there are few papers.

Oil trade is fairly significant. However it's becoming less so and the majority of countries obtain their oil within a thousand miles. Even China produces about half its own oil, and it mainly uses domestic energy.

So you are better off looking into oil industry papers rather than general papers on trade.

  • $\begingroup$ I feel like I did a poor job explaining what exactly I hope to study. It's not the environmental damage caused by international trade, but rather the impact of more stringent environmental regulations and/or occurrence of environmental crimes on a country's international trade balance. For example, would an increase in the number of environmental crimes harm a country's trade, especially commodities? Or would a more stringent regulation impact on the balance of international trade of a country? Thanks for your answer! $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 1, 2019 at 22:02
  • $\begingroup$ Unlikely it would do anything except oil trade. The material consumption is so tiny. Any effects you'd find would be spurious. $\endgroup$
    – user24138
    Commented Sep 1, 2019 at 22:17
  • $\begingroup$ Although I agree that some trade may be insignificant in terms of environmental foot print, there is actually quite a large literature on international trade in natural resources and the effects of regulation $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 2, 2019 at 13:26

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