Environmental and Resource Economics

, Volume 66, Issue 2, pp 261–291 | Cite as

The Effect of Within-Sector, Upstream and Downstream Environmental Taxes on Innovation and Productivity

  • Chiara Franco
  • Giovanni Marin


The aim of this paper is to investigate the effect of environmental regulatory stringency on innovation and productivity using a panel of 8 European countries for 13 manufacturing sectors over the years 2001–2007. This research topic falls under the heading of the Porter hypothesis (PH) of which different versions have been tested. We consider both the strong and the weak versions of the PH, while also adding some peculiar features to the analysis. Firstly, we assess the role played by environmental taxes, that is an instrument rarely tested as a factor which can support the PH. Secondly, we analyse not only the effect of environmental taxes within a given sector (within-sector), but also the role played by environmental taxes in upstream and downstream sectors in terms of input–output relationships. Thirdly, we test these relationships also ‘indirectly’ by verifying whether innovation is one of the channels through which higher sectoral productivity can be achieved by imposing tighter environmental regulations. Our main findings suggest that downstream stringency is the most relevant driver of innovation and productivity while within-sector regulations only affect productivity but not innovation. Moreover, the effect of regulations on productivity is mostly direct, while the part of the effect mediated by induced innovations, as measured by patents, is relevant only for what concerns downstream regulations.


Downstream Upstream Environmental taxes Input–output Porter hypothesis 

JEL Classification

L6 O13 Q55 



Chiara Franco acknowledges the financial support of the National Research Project PRIN-MIUR 2010–2011 ‘Climate Changes in the Mediterranean Area: Evolutionary Scenarios, Mitigation Policies and Technological Innovation’. Giovanni Marin acknowledges the financial support of the EMInInn research project, funded by the European Union under the 7th Framework Programme for Research (Grant Agreement No. 283002, We thank the participants to the Workshop on ‘Eco Innovation in the EU - Conceptual and Empirical Perspectives’ (University of Ferrara, Italy, September 2013) and to the 13th EACES (European Association of Comparative Economic Studies) Biennial Conference (Budapest, Hungary, September 2014). We would like to thank two anonymous referees for their suggestions and comments. Usual disclaimer applies.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of International Economics, Institutions and DevelopmentCatholic University of Sacred HeartMilanItaly
  2. 2.SEEDS Sustainability Environmental Economics and Dynamics StudiesFerraraItaly
  3. 3.IRCrES-CNR, Research Institute on Sustainable Economic Growth of National Research Council of ItalyMilanItaly
  4. 4.OFCE-SciencesPoSophia AntipolisFrance

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