Review of World Economics

, Volume 145, Issue 4, pp 713–729

Global manufacturing SO2 emissions: does trade matter?

  • Jean-Marie Grether
  • Nicole A. Mathys
  • Jaime de Melo
Original Paper


A growth-decomposition (scale, technique and composition effect) covering 62 countries and seven manufacturing sectors over the 1990–2000 period shows that trade, through reallocations of activities across countries, has contributed to a 2–3% decrease in world SO2 emissions. However, when compared to a constructed counterfactual no-trade benchmark, depending on the base year, trade would have contributed to a 3–10% increase in emissions. Finally adding emissions coming from trade-related transport activities, global emissions are increased through trade by 16% in 1990 and 13% in 2000, the decline being largely attributable to a shift of dirty activities towards cleaner countries.


Embodied emissions in trade Environment Growth decomposition Transport World trade 

JEL Classification

F18 Q56 


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Copyright information

© Kiel Institute 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean-Marie Grether
    • 1
  • Nicole A. Mathys
    • 2
  • Jaime de Melo
    • 3
  1. 1.University of NeuchâtelNeuchâtelSwitzerland
  2. 2.Swiss Federal Office of Energy (Berne) and University of NeuchâtelNeuchâtelSwitzerland
  3. 3.CERDI and CEPR, Départment d’économie politiqueUniversity of GenevaGenève 4Switzerland

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