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Hot spots regulation and environmental justice


  • Turaga, Rama Mohana R.
  • Noonan, Douglas
  • Bostrom, Ann


This paper analyzes whether regulating "hot spots" of toxic air pollution by increasing the spatial resolution of regulation could address environmental justice (EJ) concerns. To examine this question, this paper develops a decision model of a regulator choosing emission controls within a net cost minimizing framework. An empirical application of the model using air toxic emission data for Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties in Florida estimates the emission standards and spatial distribution of risks at a coarse and a finer spatial resolutions. Implications for EJ are analyzed by combining the simulated spatial risk distributions at the two resolutions with the demographic data. Results indicate that different measures of EJ point to different conclusions regarding the question of whether finer resolution regulation alleviates EJ concerns. The paper concludes with a discussion of the implications for EJ policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Turaga, Rama Mohana R. & Noonan, Douglas & Bostrom, Ann, 2011. "Hot spots regulation and environmental justice," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(7), pages 1395-1405, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:70:y:2011:i:7:p:1395-1405

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Douglas S. Noonan, 2008. "Evidence of Environmental Justice: A Critical Perspective on the Practice of EJ Research and Lessons for Policy Design," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1153-1174.
    2. Van Houtven, George & Cropper, Maureen L., 1996. "When is a Life Too Costly to Save? The Evidence from U.S. Environmental Regulations," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 348-368, May.
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    5. Mariam, Yohannes & Barre, Mike, 1996. "VOCs’s Cost functions in the Design of Emission Abatement Strategies," MPRA Paper 658, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 1996.
    6. Cropper, Maureen L. & William N. Evans & Stephen J. Berard & Maria M. Ducla-Soares & Paul R. Portney, 1992. "The Determinants of Pesticide Regulation: A Statistical Analysis of EPA Decision Making," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(1), pages 175-197, February.
    7. Alberini, Anna & Austin, David, 1999. "On and Off the Liability Bandwagon: Explaining State Adoptions of Strict Liability in Hazardous Waste Programs," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 41-63, January.
    8. Shreekant Gupta & George Van Houtven & Maureen Cropper, 1996. "Paying for Permanence: An Economic Analysis of EPA's Cleanup Decisions at Superfund Sites," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 27(3), pages 563-582, Autumn.
    9. Dana Petersen & Meredith Minkler & Victoria Breckwich Vásquez & Andrea Corage Baden, 2006. "Community-Based Participatory Research as a Tool for Policy Change: A Case Study of the Southern California Environmental Justice Collaborative," Review of Policy Research, Policy Studies Organization, vol. 23(2), pages 339-354, March.
    10. Michael Hanemann, 2008. "California's New Greenhouse Gas Laws," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 2(1), pages 114-129, Winter.
    11. Van Houtven, George L. & Cropper, Maureen L. & DEC, 1994. "When is a life too costly to save? : evidence from U.S. environmental regulations," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1260, The World Bank.
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