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What Determines Environmental Performance at Paper Mills? The Roles of Abatement Spending, Regulation, and Efficiency

  • Shadbegian Ronald J

    ()

    (University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth)

  • Gray Wayne B

    ()

    (Clark University)

This paper examines the determinants of environmental performance at paper mills, measured by air pollution emissions per unit of output. We consider differences across plants in air pollution abatement expenditures, local regulatory stringency, and productive efficiency. Emissions are significantly lower in plants with a larger air pollution abatement capital stock: a 10 percent increase in abatement capital stock appears to reduce emissions by 6.9 percent. This translates into a sizable social return: one dollar of abatement capital stock is estimated to provide an annual social return of about 75 cents in pollution reduction benefits. Local regulatory stringency and productive efficiency also matter: plants in non-attainment counties have 43 percent lower emissions and plants with 10 percent higher productivity have 2.5 percent lower emissions. For pollution abatement operating costs we find (puzzlingly) positive, but always insignificant, coefficients.

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Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy.

Volume (Year): 3 (2003)
Issue (Month): 1 (November)
Pages: 1-20

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Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:topics.3:y:2003:i:1:n:15
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