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The Impact of Inspections on Plant-Level Air Emissions


  • Hanna Rema Nadeem

    () (Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University)

  • Oliva Paulina

    () (University of California at Santa Barbara)


Each year, the United States conducts approximately 20,000 inspections of manufacturing plants under the Clean Air Act. This paper compiles a panel dataset on plant-level inspections, fines, and emissions to understand whether these inspections actually reduce air emissions. We find plants reduce air emissions by fifteen percent, on average, following an inspection under the Clean Air Act. Plants that belong to industries that typically have low abatement costs respond more strongly to an inspection than those who belong to industries with high abatement costs.

Suggested Citation

  • Hanna Rema Nadeem & Oliva Paulina, 2010. "The Impact of Inspections on Plant-Level Air Emissions," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-33, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:10:y:2010:i:1:n:19

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Becker, Randy A., 2005. "Air pollution abatement costs under the Clean Air Act: evidence from the PACE survey," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 144-169, July.
    2. Gray, Wayne B. & Shadbegian, R.J.Ronald J., 2004. "'Optimal' pollution abatement--whose benefits matter, and how much?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 510-534, May.
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    5. Wolfgang Keller & Arik Levinson, 2000. "Environmental Regulations and FDI Inflows to U.S. States," Working Papers gueconwpa~00-00-06, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
    6. Laplante, Benoit & Rilstone, Paul, 1996. "Environmental Inspections and Emissions of the Pulp and Paper Industry in Quebec," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 19-36, July.
    7. Kahn, Matthew E., 1997. "Particulate pollution trends in the United States," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 87-107, February.
    8. Magat, Wesley A & Viscusi, W Kip, 1990. "Effectiveness of the EPA's Regulatory Enforcement: The Case of Industrial Effluent Standards," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(2), pages 331-360, October.
    9. Shimshack, Jay P. & Ward, Michael B., 2008. "Enforcement and over-compliance," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 90-105, January.
    10. Nadeau, Louis W., 1997. "EPA Effectiveness at Reducing the Duration of Plant-Level Noncompliance," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 54-78, September.
    11. List John A. & Millimet Daniel L & McHone Warren, 2004. "The Unintended Disincentive in the Clean Air Act," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 3(2), pages 1-28, February.
    12. Eckert, Heather, 2004. "Inspections, warnings, and compliance: the case of petroleum storage regulation," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 232-259, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Michael Greenstone & Rema Hanna, 2014. "Environmental Regulations, Air and Water Pollution, and Infant Mortality in India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(10), pages 3038-3072, October.
    2. Esther Duflo & Michael Greenstone & Rohini Pande & Nicholas Ryan, 2014. "The Value of Regulatory Discretion: Estimates from Environmental Inspections in India," NBER Working Papers 20590, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Anil R. Doshi & Glen W.S. Dowell & Michael W. Toffel, 2011. "How Firms Respond to Mandatory Information Disclosure," Harvard Business School Working Papers 12-001, Harvard Business School, revised Jun 2012.
    4. Lirong Liu & Zhou Yang, 2014. "High Priority Violation Policy and Targeting Enforcement: An Empirical Analysis of its Effectiveness and Efficiency," Working Papers 1411, Sam Houston State University, Department of Economics and International Business.
    5. Ashenmiller Bevin & Norman Catherine Shelley, 2011. "Measuring the Impact of Anti-SLAPP Legislation on Monitoring and Enforcement," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-19, November.
    6. Grooms, Katherine K., 2015. "Enforcing the Clean Water Act: The effect of state-level corruption on compliance," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 50-78.
    7. Dechenaux, Emmanuel & Samuel, Andrew, 2014. "Announced vs. surprise inspections with tipping-off," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 167-183.
    8. repec:kap:regeco:v:51:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11149-016-9314-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Jinghui Lim, 2016. "The impact of monitoring and enforcement on air pollutant emissions," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 49(2), pages 203-222, April.
    10. Peter Maniloff, 2016. "Bayesian Learning and Regulatory Deterrence: Evidence from Oil and Gas Production," Working Papers 2016-04, Colorado School of Mines, Division of Economics and Business.
    11. Alm, James & Shimshack, Jay, 2014. "Environmental Enforcement and Compliance: Lessons from Pollution, Safety, and Tax Settings," Foundations and Trends(R) in Microeconomics, now publishers, vol. 10(4), pages 209-274, December.
    12. Matthew Doyle & Corrado Di Maria & Ian A. Lange & Emiliya Lazarova, 2016. "Electoral Incentives and Firm Behavior: Evidence from U.S. Power Plant Pollution Abatement," CESifo Working Paper Series 6127, CESifo Group Munich.

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