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Ranking Distributions of Environmental Outcomes Across Population Groups

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Author Info

  • Glenn Sheriff
  • Kelly B. Maguire

Abstract

This paper develops methods for evaluating distributional impacts of alternative environmental policies across demographic groups. The income inequality literature provides a natural methodological toolbox for comparing distributions of environmental outcomes. We show that the most commonly used inequality indexes, such as the Atkinson index, have theoretical properties that make them inappropriate for analyzing bads, like pollution, as opposed to goods, like income. We develop a transformation of the Atkinson index suitable for analyzing bad outcomes. We also show how the rarely used Kolm-Pollak index is particularly convenient for ranking distributions of both good and bad health and environmental outcomes. We demonstrate these methods in the context of emissions standards affecting indoor air quality.

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File URL: http://yosemite.epa.gov/ee/epa/eed.nsf/WPNumber/2013-04/$File/2013-04.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 201304.

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Length: 49 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2013
Date of revision: Aug 2013
Handle: RePEc:nev:wpaper:wp201304

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Related research

Keywords: environmental justice; distributional analysis; inequality indexes; Lorenz curves; benefit-cost analysis;

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References

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  1. Louis Kaplow, 2002. "Why Measure Inequality?," NBER Working Papers 9342, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Anthony B. Atkinson & Andrea Brandolini, 2009. "On analysing the world distribution of income," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 701, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  3. Cowell, Frank A., 1989. "Sampling variance and decomposable inequality measures," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 27-41, September.
  4. Jukka Pirttil´┐Ż & Roope Uusitalo, 2010. "A 'Leaky Bucket' in the Real World: Estimating Inequality Aversion using Survey Data," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 77(305), pages 60-76, 01.
  5. Blackorby, Charles & Donaldson, David, 1978. "Measures of relative equality and their meaning in terms of social welfare," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 59-80, June.
  6. Charles Blackorby & David Donaldson & Maria Auersperg, 1981. "A New Procedure for the Measurement of Inequality within and among Population Subgroups," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 14(4), pages 665-85, November.
  7. Pollak, Robert A, 1971. "Additive Utility Functions and Linear Engel Curves," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(116), pages 401-14, October.
  8. Shanti Gamper-Rabindran & Christopher Timmins, 2011. "Hazardous Waste Cleanup, Neighborhood Gentrification, and Environmental Justice: Evidence from Restricted Access Census Block Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 620-24, May.
  9. Meredith Fowlie & Stephen P. Holland & Erin T. Mansur, 2012. "What Do Emissions Markets Deliver and to Whom? Evidence from Southern California's NOx Trading Program," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(2), pages 965-93, April.
  10. Moyes, Patrick, 1987. "A new concept of Lorenz domination," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 203-207.
  11. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Carmen Herrero & Antonio Villar, 2014. "Ranking distributions of monotone attributes," Working Papers 14.03, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Department of Economics.

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