Is Environmental Justice Good for White Folks?
AbstractThis paper examines spatial variations in exposure to toxic air pollution from industrial facilities in urban areas of the United States, using geographic microdata from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Risk-Screening Environmental Indicators project. We find that average exposure in an urban area is positively correlated with the extent of racial and ethnic disparity in the distribution of the exposure burden. This correlation could arise from causal linkages in either or both directions: the ability to displace pollution onto minorities may lower the effective cost of pollution for industrial firms; and higher average pollution burdens may induce whites to invest more political capital in efforts to influence firms’ siting decisions. Furthermore, we find that in urban areas with higher minority pollution-exposure discrepancies, average exposures tend to be higher for all population subgroups, including whites. In other words, improvements in environmental justice in the United States could benefit not only minorities but also whites.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst in its series Working Papers with number wp229.
Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
environmental justice; air pollution; industrial toxics; Risk-Screening Environmental Indicators.;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism
- Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
- Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
- R3 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Production Analysis, and Firm Location
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