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Why Is Pollution from US Manufacturing Declining? The Roles of Environmental Regulation, Productivity, and Trade

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  • Joseph S. Shapiro
  • Reed Walker

Abstract

Between 1990 and 2008, air pollution emissions from U.S. manufacturing fell by 60 percent despite a substantial increase in manufacturing output. We show that these emissions reductions are primarily driven by within-product changes in emissions intensity rather than changes in output or in the composition of products produced. We then develop and estimate a quantitative model linking trade with the environment to better understand the economic forces driving these changes. Our estimates suggest that the implicit pollution tax that manufacturers face doubled between 1990 and 2008. These changes in environmental regulation, rather than changes in productivity and trade, account for most of the emissions reductions.

Suggested Citation

  • Joseph S. Shapiro & Reed Walker, 2018. "Why Is Pollution from US Manufacturing Declining? The Roles of Environmental Regulation, Productivity, and Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 108(12), pages 3814-3854, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:108:y:2018:i:12:p:3814-54
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.20151272
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F18 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Environment
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • L60 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - General
    • Q52 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Pollution Control Adoption and Costs; Distributional Effects; Employment Effects
    • 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
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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