An enduring concern for developed and developing countries alike is to strike the right balance between ambitious environmental policies and the international competitiveness of both nations and individual firms. Significant advances have been made in measuring the stringency of environmental policies and understanding the relationship between environmental action and economic dynamics. However, the literature evaluating these issues in the context of developing countries remains sparse, mainly due to a lack of data.
To identify the primary gaps in the existing environmental policy databases, the GGKP Trade and Competitiveness Research Committee released a new working paper on 'Analysis of Existing Environmental Policy Databases', which comprehensively assesses 24 databases that provide information on environmental policies implemented by national governments. The review of each database summarises the type of information provided, the breadth of coverage, the accessibility of data, and the strengths and weaknesses of each database with respect to the overall objective of improving access to environmental policy data for assessing the impact of environmental policies on competitiveness and trade. Overall, the electricity and agriculture, forestry and fishing sectors are well covered for OECD countries; other ISIC sectors are covered much less comprehensively and there is a lack of data on non-OECD countries in most databases. While many databases provide bulk download options, very few provide data services which increase data accessibility. It is recommended to work with current databases, either individually or in combination, in order to improve existing data coverage and accessibility for researchers of trade and economic competitiveness.