Returns to scale vs. damages to scale in data envelopment analysis: An impact of U.S. clean air act on coal-fired power plants
This study proposes a use of Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) to measure Returns to Scale (RTS) of US coal-fired power plants. The power plants produce not only desirable outputs (e.g., electricity) but also undesirable outputs (e.g., CO2 and NOx) as a result of their plant operations. Therefore, the proposed use of DEA also measures a new concept, or “DTS: Damages to Scale” (corresponding to RTS for undesirable outputs). Both scale measures discussed in this study are a quick-and-easy approach for assessing RTS and DTS, but not an exact method, because it does not consider a direct linkage between the two measures. This study applies the proposed approach to examine the legal validity of U.S. Clean Air Act (CAA). We find that the CAA has been legally effective and influential on the operation of coal-fired power plants in the United States because their plant operations belong to increasing RTS on a desirable output and increasing DTS on three undesirable outputs. The increasing DTS indicates a need for managerial improvement and/or engineering innovation such as advanced clean coal technology. This empirical result implies that U.S. federal and state governments need to expand the legal scope of CAA to the emission control of CO2 because the current CAA excludes the regulation on CO2 emission that is now considered as a main source of the global warming and climate change.
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Volume (Year): 41 (2013)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
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