The Impacts of Trade Liberalization on Environment and Health


Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

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Award date5 Aug 2022


This thesis comprises two essays, and they examine the effects of trade liberalization.
The first essay explores the effect of trade liberalization on carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions in 196 countries from 1970 to 2016. The exogenous reduction in trade restrictions due to countries' accession to the World Trade Organization is used as a measure of trade liberalization. Using the difference-in-difference method, the study estimates a large effect of accession on environmental quality. The results passed several robustness checks and did not appear to be influenced by coincidental shocks or the political conditions of accession. These results directly challenge using a single environmental quality indicator when assessing the relationship between trade liberalization and the environment.

The second essay uses a unique longitudinal dataset from the Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey to study the effects of input tariff liberalization on workers' health in 30 industries from 2004 to 2019. By exploiting the exogenous reduction in input tariff due to Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization, the essay documents new causal evidence on the heterogeneous impact of trade shock on workers' health. The analysis shows that tariff reduction adversely affects workers' health, especially the low- and medium-skilled and those in privately-owned enterprises. These results were obtained using the difference-in-difference method, and they passed several robustness checks. Further investigation reveals that tariff cuts affect workers' health through increased working hours, workplace injuries, and declining job satisfaction.