Research page
  • Partner: Tom Rutherford (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
  • Academic Associate: Bruno Lanz
  • Timeline: July 2015 - June 2019
  • Keywords: environmental regulation, competitiveness, firms location, technology adoption
  • Funding Organisation: SNF


During the UN conference on climate change held in Durban in 2011, the European Union and some other developed countries, including Switzerland, have pledged to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions between 20% and 30% below the level of 1990. The economic cost linked to emission reductions could penalize countries planning a strong reduction and thus cause a rebalancing of international economic competitiveness. These economic impacts present a major obstacle to achieving a global agreement on climate change.

Through this project, we aim to better understand the impact of environmental policies on economic competitiveness, by analysing the case of two countries of major importance for the future of emissions of greenhouse gases: China and the USA. In the case of China, we plan to study the links between the geographic distribution of pollution, economic growth and exports, as well as environmental policies introduced by regional governments. In the case of the USA, we will focus on the adoption of new technologies in the policy of tradable emissions quotas limiting SO2 emissions.

The results of this project will provide new empirical perspectives on the economic implications of environmental policies, and they will allow us to make recommendations for effective public policies both at the environmental and the economic levels.