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Costs And Benefits Of Reducing Air Pollutants Related To Acid Rain

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  • DALLAS BURTRAW
  • ALAN KRUPNICK
  • ERIN MANSUR
  • DAVID AUSTIN
  • DEIRDRE FARRELL

Abstract

The 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments initiated a dramatic reduction in emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides by electric power plants. This paper presents the results of an integrated assessment of the benefits and costs of the program. Dramatic uncertainties characterize the estimates especially with respect to the benefits of the program, many of which were modeled explicitly. The lion's share of benefits results from reduced risk of premature mortality, especially through reduced exposure to sulfates, and these expected benefits measure several times the expected costs of the program. Significant benefits also are estimated for improvements in health morbidity, recreational visibility, and residential visibility, each of which measures approximately equal to costs. Areas that were the focus of attention in the 1980s—including effects to soils, forests, and aquatic systems—still have not been modeled comprehensively, but evidence suggests that benefits in these areas are relatively small, at least with respect to “use values” for the environmental assets that are affected.

Suggested Citation

  • Dallas Burtraw & Alan Krupnick & Erin Mansur & David Austin & Deirdre Farrell, 1998. "Costs And Benefits Of Reducing Air Pollutants Related To Acid Rain," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 16(4), pages 379-400, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:coecpo:v:16:y:1998:i:4:p:379-400
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1465-7287.1998.tb00527.x
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lawrence H. Goulder & Ian W.H. Parry & Dallas Burtraw, 1997. "Revenue-Raising versus Other Approaches to Environmental Protection: The Critical Significance of Preexisting Tax Distortions," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 28(4), pages 708-731, Winter.
    2. Burtraw, Dallas & Bohi, Douglas, 1997. "SO2 Allowance Trading: How Experience and Expectations Measure Up," Discussion Papers dp-97-24, Resources For the Future.
    3. Bohi, Douglas R. & Burtraw, Dallas, 1997. "SO2 Allowance Trading: How Experience and Expectations Measure Up," Discussion Papers 10878, Resources for the Future.
    4. Jones-Lee, M W & Hammerton, M & Philips, P R, 1985. "The Value of Safety: Results of a National Sample Survey," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 95(377), pages 49-72, March.
    5. Johannesson, Magnus & Johansson, Per-Olov, 1996. "To Be, or Not to Be, That Is the Question: An Empirical Study of the WTP for an Increased Life Expectancy at an Advanced Age," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 13(2), pages 163-174, September.
    6. Dallas Burtraw, 1996. "The So2 Emissions Trading Program: Cost Savings Without Allowance Trades," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 14(2), pages 79-94, April.
    7. Bohi, Douglas R. & Burtraw, Dallas, 1997. "SO2 allowance trading: How do expectations and experience measure up?," The Electricity Journal, Elsevier, vol. 10(7), pages 67-75.
    8. Portney, Paul R, 1990. "Economics and the Clean Air Act," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 173-181, Fall.
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