Clean technological change in developing-country industrial clusters: Mexican leather tanning

Allen Blackman, Arne Kildegaard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

105 Scopus citations


In many cities in developing countries, clusters of small and medium-sized enterprises create severe pollution problems. Because conventional regulatory approaches are typically ineffective in such situations, policy responses have increasingly focused on promoting voluntary clean technological change. Yet the data and analysis needed to guide such efforts are scarce. This article uses original firm-level survey data on a cluster of small and medium-scale leather tanneries in León, Guanajuato-Mexico's leather goods capital-to identify the factors that drive the adoption of two clean tanning technologies. Using a multivariate probit model to estimate a system of seemingly unrelated regressions, we find-in contrast to conventional wisdom-that neither firm size nor regulatory pressure is positively correlated with adoption. Rather, the key driver of adoption is the firm's human capital, the same factor that often explains conventional productivity-enhancing technological change. We also find that a private-sector trade association is an important source of technical information about clean technologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-132
Number of pages18
JournalEnvironmental Economics and Policy Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2010


  • Clean technology
  • Developing country
  • Mexico
  • Small and medium enterprises


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