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Effects of Air Quality Regulation

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  • Vernon Henderson

Abstract

This paper investigates the effects of local regulatory effort on ground level ozone air quality and on industrial location. Local regulatory effort varies by annual air quality attainment status and by state attitudes towards the environment. A switch from attainment to non-attainment status induces greater regulatory effort in a county, leading to an improvement in air quality. Air quality readings for ground level ozone improve by 3-8% depending on the exact air quality measure, following a switch to non-attainment status. Pro-environment states, which ceteris paribus, spend relatively more on pollution abatement also have cleaner air. A 1% increase in typical annual state pollution abatement expenditures leads to about a .04% improvement in local ozone readings. Heavily polluting industries show a tendency to move to counties with a record of clean air, where they are less likely to be hassled. A county switching to having a three-year record of attainment experiences a 7-9% growth in the number of heavily polluting establishments. This implies polluting industries are spreading out geographically moving from non- attainment (polluted) areas to attainment (initially less polluted) areas. Finally, for ozone, localities may improve the annual hourly extreme value reading used to measure officially local air quality, without improving measures (mean, medians, medians of daily maximum) of more typical ozone conditions. This occurs by spreading out economic activity over the day to dampen peaks of ozone inducing activity and subsequent daily ozone peaks.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5118.

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Date of creation: May 1995
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Publication status: published as American Economic Review, 1996, 86, pp.789-813.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5118

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  1. Chamberlain, Gary, 1980. "Analysis of Covariance with Qualitative Data," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(1), pages 225-38, January.
  2. Henderson, Vernon, 1997. "Externalities and Industrial Development," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 449-470, November.
  3. Mary E. Deily & Wayne B. Gray, 1989. "Enforcement of pollution regulations in a declining industry," Working Paper 8912, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  4. Scott E. Atkinson & T. H. Tietenberg, 1987. "Economic Implications of Emissions Trading Rules for Local and Regional Pollutants," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 20(2), pages 370-86, May.
  5. Roumasset, James A. & Smith, Kirk R., 1990. "Exposure trading: An approach to more efficient air pollution control," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 276-291, May.
  6. Wayne B. Gray & Ronald J. Shadbegian, 1993. "Environmental Regulation and Manufacturing Productivity at the Plant Level," NBER Working Papers 4321, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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