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What Determines Environmental Performance at Paper Mills? The Roles of Abatement Spending, Regulation, and Efficiency

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  • Ronald J. Shadbegian
  • Wayne B. Gray

Abstract

This paper examines the determinants of environmental performance at paper mills, measured by air pollution emissions per unit of output. We consider differences across plants in air pollution abatement expenditures, local regulatory stringency, and productive efficiency. Emissions are significantly lower in plants with a larger air pollution abatement capital stock: a 10 percent increase in abatement capital stock appears to reduce emissions by 6.9 percent. This translates into a sizable social return: one dollar of abatement capital stock is estimated to provide an annual return of about 75 cents in pollution reduction benefits. Local regulatory stringency and productive efficiency also matter: plants in non-attainment counties have 43 percent lower emissions and plants with 10 percent higher productivity have 2.5 percent lower emissions. For pollution abatement operating costs we find (puzzlingly) positive, but always insignificant, coefficients

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File URL: http://yosemite.epa.gov/ee/epa/eed.nsf/WPNumber/2003-03/$File/2003-03.PDF
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Center for Environmental Economics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in its series NCEE Working Paper Series with number 200303.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2003
Date of revision: Apr 2003
Handle: RePEc:nev:wpaper:wp200303

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Keywords: Environmental Performance; Pollution Abatement Capital Stock; Air Pollution Emissions; Productive Efficiency;

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References

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  1. Wayne B Gray & Ronald J Shadbegian, 2001. "Plant Vintage, Technology, and Environmental Regulation," Working Papers 01-08, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  2. Kahn, Matthew E., 1999. "The Silver Lining of Rust Belt Manufacturing Decline," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 360-376, November.
  3. Gray, Wayne B, 1987. "The Cost of Regulation: OSHA, EPA and the Productivity Slowdown," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 998-1006, December.
  4. Becker, Randy A., 2005. "Air pollution abatement costs under the Clean Air Act: evidence from the PACE survey," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 144-169, July.
  5. Randy A Becker & Vernon Henderson, 1999. "Costs of Air Quality Regulation," Working Papers 99-9, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    • Randy A. Becker & J. Vernon Henderson, 2001. "Costs of Air Quality Regulation," NBER Chapters, in: Behavioral and Distributional Effects of Environmental Policy, pages 159-186 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Carlo Carraro & Gilbert E. Metcalf, 2000. "Behavioral and Distributional Effects of Environmental Policy: Introduction," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0011, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  7. Eli Berman & Linda T. M. Bui, 2001. "Environmental Regulation And Productivity: Evidence From Oil Refineries," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(3), pages 498-510, August.
  8. Barbera, Anthony J & McConnell, Virginia D, 1986. "Effects of Pollution Control on Industry Productivity: A Factor Demand Approach," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(2), pages 161-72, December.
  9. Gollop, Frank M & Roberts, Mark J, 1983. "Environmental Regulations and Productivity Growth: The Case of Fossil-Fueled Electric Power Generation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(4), pages 654-74, August.
  10. Gray, Wayne B & Shadbegian, Ronald J, 1998. "Environmental Regulation, Investment Timing, and Technology Choice," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(2), pages 235-56, June.
  11. Eric J. Bartelsman & Wayne Gray, 1996. "The NBER Manufacturing Productivity Database," NBER Technical Working Papers 0205, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Halvorsen, Robert & Palmquist, Raymond, 1980. "The Interpretation of Dummy Variables in Semilogarithmic Equations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(3), pages 474-75, June.
  13. Henderson, J Vernon, 1996. "Effects of Air Quality Regulation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 789-813, September.
  14. Robert H Mcguckin & George A Pascoe, 1988. "The Longitudinal Research Database (LRD): Status And Research Possibilities," Working Papers 88-2, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
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Cited by:
  1. Fleishman, Rachel & Alexander, Rob & Bretschneider, Stuart & Popp, David, 2009. "Does regulation stimulate productivity? The effect of air quality policies on the efficiency of US power plants," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(11), pages 4574-4582, November.
  2. Ronald Shadbegian & Wayne Gray, 2005. "Assessing Multi-Dimensional Performance: Environmental and Economic Outcomes," Working Papers 05-03, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  3. Li, Zhe, 2008. "Productivity Dispersion across Plants, Emission Abatement, and Environmental Policy," MPRA Paper 9564, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Wayne B. Gray & Ronald J. Shadbegian, 2007. "The Environmental Performance Of Polluting Plants: A Spatial Analysis," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(1), pages 63-84.
  5. Wayne B. Gray & Ronald J. Shadbegian, 2002. "Optimal Pollution Abatement - Whose Benefits Matter, and How Much?," NBER Working Papers 9125, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Haller, Stefanie & Murphy, Liam, 2010. "Corporate Expenditure on Environmental Protection," Papers WP347, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
  7. Blind, Knut, 2012. "The influence of regulations on innovation: A quantitative assessment for OECD countries," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 391-400.
  8. Ralf Martin & Mirabelle Muûls & Ulrich J. Wagner & Laure B. de Preux, 2010. "Anatomy of a Paradox: Management Practices, Organisational Structure and Energy Efficiency," CEP Discussion Papers dp1039, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.

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