I am just finishing off a presentation to give at the European Trade Study Group conference in Vienna. This conference is the largest gathering of international trade economists with over 200 papers being presented.
There is usually a couple of sessions on trade/FDI and the environment and this year we are to present our paper on "Multinationals and Environmental Spillovers: The Role of Ownership, Training and Experience" (Cole/Elliott/Stobl) .
This is part of a new research agenda to investigate the behaviour of Multinationals in developing countries. The link between multinationals and the anti-globalisation movement tends to focus on the "exploitation" angle - we investigate whether there is also a positive environmental effect.
In this paper we extend the debate on the environmental implications of multinational corporations in developing countries by examining a new mechanism through which foreign influence can affect the environmental performance of firms. We focus on the extent to which key workers who have had previous training or experience in a multinational company transfer and utilise their knowledge gained to the benefit of the local environment. To this end we use detailed firm-level data on manufacturing firms in Ghana. Our econometric results suggest that the foreign training of a firm’s decisions maker does reduce fuel use, particularly so in foreign owned firms. Foreign ownership per se does not influence fuel use or total energy use but is found to increase electricity use, perhaps the cleanest form of energy used by Ghanaian firms.
For the full conference programme and URLs to all the papers see: