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Abstract

This study seeks to investigate the causal effect of the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) on firms' holdings of fixed assets as an early indicator of industrial relocation, exploiting installation level inclusion criteria of the regulation. To single out companies with particularly low relocation costs, global multinational enterprises (MNEs), we identify ownership structures for the full sample of EU ETS-firms. Matched Difference-in- Differences estimates provide robust evidence that contradicts the specter of an erosion of European asset bases. Baseline results for the manufacturing sector indicate that the EU ETS led to an on average increase of treated firms' asset bases of 12,1%. However, for a particular subgroup of MNEs, this increase is a mere 2.1%. For these companies, the EU ETS may have induced a shift in investment priorities.

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