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Effects of Socio-Economic and Input-Related Factors on Polluting Plants' Location Decisions

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Author Info

  • Ann Wolverton

Abstract

Many environmental justice studies argue that firms choose to locate waste sites or polluting plants disproportionately in minority or poor communities. However, it is not uncommon for these studies to match site or plant location to contemporaneous socioeconomic characteristics instead of to characteristics at the time of siting. While this may provide important information on disproportionate impacts currently faced by these communities, it does not describe the relationship at the time of siting. Also, variables that are important to a plant's location decision – i.e., production and transportation costs - are often not included. Without controlling for such variables, it is difficult to evaluate the relative importance of socioeconomic characteristics in a firm’s initial location decision. This paper examines the role of community socioeconomic characteristics at the time of siting in the location decisions of manufacturing plants while controlling for other location-relevant factors such as input costs. When plant location is matched to current socioeconomic characteristics results are consistent with what the environmental justice literature predicts: Race is significant and positively related to plant location, while income is significant and negatively related to plant location. When plant location is matched to socioeconomic characteristics at the time of siting, empirical results suggest that race is no longer significant, though income is still significant and negatively related to plant location. Poverty rates are sometimes significant but act as a deterrent to plant location. Variables traditionally considered in the firm location literature - such as land and labor costs, the quality of labor, and distance to rail - are significant. The presence of pre-existing TRI plants in a neighborhood and average plant size are also significant.

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File URL: http://yosemite.epa.gov/ee/epa/eed.nsf/WPNumber/2008-08/$File/2008-08.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 200808.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2008
Date of revision: Aug 2008
Handle: RePEc:nev:wpaper:wp200808

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Keywords: environmental justice; firm location;

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References

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  1. Virginia D. McConnell & Robert M. Schwab, 1990. "The Impact of Environmental Regulation on Industry Location Decisions: The Motor Vehicle Industry," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 66(1), pages 67-81.
  2. Douglas Anderton & Andy Anderson & John Oakes & Michael Fraser, 1994. "Environmental Equity: The Demographics of Dumping," Demography, Springer, vol. 31(2), pages 229-248, May.
  3. Miles Finney, 1994. "Property tax effects on intrametropolitan firm location: further evidence," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(2), pages 29-31.
  4. Levinson, Arik, 1996. "Environmental regulations and manufacturers' location choices: Evidence from the Census of Manufactures," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1-2), pages 5-29, October.
  5. Baden, Brett M. & Coursey, Don L., 2002. "The locality of waste sites within the city of Chicago: a demographic, social, and economic analysis," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(1-2), pages 53-93, February.
  6. Cynthia Morgan & Kelly B. Maguire & Robin R. Jenkins, 2002. "Host Community Compensation and Municipal Solid Waste Landfills," NCEE Working Paper Series 200204, National Center for Environmental Economics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, revised Aug 2002.
  7. Brooks, Nancy & Sethi, Rajiv, 1997. "The Distribution of Pollution: Community Characteristics and Exposure to Air Toxics," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 233-250, February.
  8. 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.
  9. Bartik, Timothy J, 1985. "Business Location Decisions in the United States: Estimates of the Effects of Unionization, Taxes, and Other Characteristics of States," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 3(1), pages 14-22, January.
  10. Seema Arora & Timothy N. Cason, 1999. "Do Community Characteristics Influence Environmental Outcomes? Evidence from the Toxics Release Inventory," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 65(4), pages 691-716, April.
  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.
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Cited by:
  1. Cole, Matthew A. & Elliott, Robert J.R. & Khemmarat, Khemrutai, 2013. "Local exposure to toxic releases: Examining the role of ethnic fractionalization and polarisation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 249-259.
  2. Michael Ash & James K. Boyce & Grace Chang & Helen Scharber, 2010. "Is Environmental Justice Good for White Folks?," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2010-05, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
  3. Ann Wolverton, 2009. "The Role of Demographic and Cost-Related Factors in Determining Where Plants Locate - A Tale of Two Texas Cities," NCEE Working Paper Series 200903, National Center for Environmental Economics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, revised Jun 2009.
  4. Saha, Shrawantee & Mohr, Robert D., 2013. "Media attention and the Toxics Release Inventory," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 284-291.
  5. Harrington, Donna Ramirez, 2012. "Two-stage adoption of different types of pollution prevention (P2) activities," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 349-373.
  6. Michael Ash & James Boyce & Grace Chang & Helen Scharber, 2010. "Is Environmental Justice Good for White Folks?," Working Papers wp229, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
  7. Donna Ramirez Harrington, 2013. "Effectiveness Of State Pollution Prevention Programs And Policies," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 31(2), pages 255-278, 04.

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