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Pollution Incidence and Political Jurisdiction: Evidence from the TRI

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  • Eric Helland

    (Claremont McKenna College)

  • Andrew B. Whitford

    (University of Kansas)

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    Abstract

    Few issues are more contentious for local communities than industrial pollution. When local industries pollute, lawmakers and regulators must balance two primary concerns: economic prosperity and the environment. The role of political pressure is well-documented in environmental policy. What is less clear is the role jurisdictional or boundary considerations play in determining the implementation of environmental laws. Anecdotal evidence suggests that local regulators are more lenient in their treatment of polluters when the incidence of pollution falls partially on those outside the state. One explanation for such behavior is that regulators take actions to maximize political support. This paper tests this jurisdictional model using Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) data from 1987 to 1996. We find that facilities’ emissions into the air and water are systematically higher in counties that border other states. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that jurisdictional considerations are an important determinant of pollution incidence.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Claremont Colleges in its series Claremont Colleges Working Papers with number 2002-28.

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    Handle: RePEc:clm:clmeco:2002-28

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    1. Ingberman Daniel E., 1995. "Siting Noxious Facilities: Are Markets Efficient?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages S20-S33, November.
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    5. Arik Levinson, 1999. "State Taxes and Interstate Hazardous Waste Shipments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 666-677, June.
    6. Hilary Sigman, 2002. "International Spillovers and Water Quality in Rivers: Do Countries Free Ride?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1152-1159, September.
    7. Hausman, Jerry A. & Taylor, William E., 1981. "Panel data and unobservable individual effects," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 155-155, May.
    8. Weingast, Barry R & Shepsle, Kenneth A & Johnsen, Christopher, 1981. "The Political Economy of Benefits and Costs: A Neoclassical Approach to Distributive Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 642-64, August.
    9. Gray, Wayne B. & Deily, Mary E., 1996. "Compliance and Enforcement: Air Pollution Regulation in the U.S. Steel Industry," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 96-111, July.
    10. Oates, Wallace, 2001. "A Reconsideration of Environmental Federalism," Discussion Papers dp-01-54, Resources For the Future.
    11. James T. Hamilton, 1995. "Testing for environmental racism: Prejudice, profits, political power?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(1), pages 107-132.
    12. Robert E. Deyle & Stuart I. Bretschneider, 1995. "Spillovers of state policy innovations: New York's hazardous waste regulatory initiatives," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(1), pages 79-106.
    13. Stafford, Sarah L., 2002. "The Effect of Punishment on Firm Compliance with Hazardous Waste Regulations," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 290-308, September.
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    Cited by:
    1. Hilary Sigman, 2003. "Letting States do the Dirty Work: State Responsibility for Federal Environmental Regulation," NBER Working Papers 9451, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Alm, James & Banzhaf, H. Spencer, 2007. "Designing economic instruments for the environment in a decentralized fiscal system," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4379, The World Bank.

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