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Does Hazardous Waste Matter? Evidence from the Housing Market and the Superfund Program

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  • Gallagher, Justin
  • Greenstone, Michael

Abstract

This paper uses the housing market to develop estimates of the local welfare impacts of Superfund sponsored clean-ups of hazardous waste sites.We show that if consumers value the clean-ups, then the hedonic model predicts that they will lead to increases in local housing prices and new home construction, as well as the migration of individuals that place a high value on environmental quality to the areas near the improved sites. We compare housing market outcomes in the areas surrounding the first 400 hazardous waste sites chosen for Superfund clean-ups to the areas surrounding the 290 sites that narrowly missed qualifying for these clean-ups.We find that Superfund clean-ups are associated with economically small and statistically indistinguishable from zero local changes in residential property values, property rental rates, housing supply, total population, and the types of individuals living near the sitesThese findings are robust to a series of specification checks, including the application of a quasi-experimental regression discontinuity design based on knowledge of the selection rule. Overall, the preferred estimates suggest that the local benefits of Superfund clean-ups are small and appear to be substantially lower than the $43 million mean cost of Superfund clean-ups.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Regulation2point0 in its series Working paper with number 134.

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Date of creation: Jan 2007
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Handle: RePEc:reg:wpaper:134

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  1. James T. Hamilton & W. Kip Viscusi, 1999. "Calculating Risks?: The Spatial and Political Dimensions of Hazardous Waste Policy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262082780, December.
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  3. McCluskey, Jill J. & Rausser, Gordon C., 2003. "Hazardous waste sites and housing appreciation rates," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 166-176, March.
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  5. Robert S. Smith, 1979. "Compensating wage differentials and public policy: A review," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 32(3), pages 339-362, April.
  6. Hilary Sigman, 2000. "The Pace of Progress at Superfund Sites: Policy Goals and Interest Group Influence," NBER Working Papers 7704, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Kohlhase, Janet E., 1991. "The impact of toxic waste sites on housing values," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 1-26, July.
  8. Michaels, R. Gregory & Smith, V. Kerry, 1990. "Market segmentation and valuing amenities with hedonic models: The case of hazardous waste sites," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 223-242, September.
  9. Olivier Deschenes & Michael Greenstone, 2006. "The Economic Impacts of Climate Change Evidence from Agricultural Profits and Random Fluctuations in Weather," Working Papers 0601, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research.
  10. Kiel, Katherine & Zabel, Jeffrey, 2001. "Estimating the Economic Benefits of Cleaning Up Superfund Sites: The Case of Woburn, Massachusetts," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 22(2-3), pages 163-84, March-May.
  11. Ekeland, Ivar & Heckman, James J. & Nesheim, Lars, 2003. "Identification and Estimation of Hedonic Models," IZA Discussion Papers 853, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  13. Sandra E. Black, 1997. "Do better schools matter? Parental valuation of elementary education," Research Paper 9729, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
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  18. Cropper, Maureen L & Deck, Leland B & McConnell, Kenneth E, 1988. "On the Choice of Functional Form for Hedonic Price Functions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 70(4), pages 668-75, November.
  19. Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2000. "Selection on Observed and Unobserved Variables: Assessing the Effectiveness of Catholic Schools," NBER Working Papers 7831, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  21. Ihlanfeldt, Keith R. & Taylor, Laura O., 2004. "Externality effects of small-scale hazardous waste sites: evidence from urban commercial property markets," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 117-139, January.
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  24. Rosen, Sherwin, 1974. "Hedonic Prices and Implicit Markets: Product Differentiation in Pure Competition," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(1), pages 34-55, Jan.-Feb..
  25. Ted Gayer & James T. Hamilton & W. Kip Viscusi, 2000. "Private Values Of Risk Tradeoffs At Superfund Sites: Housing Market Evidence On Learning About Risk," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(3), pages 439-451, August.
  26. Halvorsen, Robert & Pollakowski, Henry O., 1981. "Choice of functional form for hedonic price equations," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 37-49, July.
  27. Katherine A. Kiel, 1995. "Measuring the Impact of the Discovery and Cleaning of Identified Hazardous Waste Sites on House Values," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 71(4), pages 428-435.
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  1. > Environmental and Natural Resource Economics > Environmental Economics > Valuation > Hedonic pricing studies
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