The Silver Lining of Rust Belt Manufacturing Decline
Between 1970 and 1989, manufacturing jobs decreased by 2.9% at the national level while manufacturing growth fell by 23.6% in the Rust Belt. Cities which specialized in manufacturing experienced severe dislocations. One silver lining of reduced manufacturing activity is improved environmental quality. This paper exploits a unique merger of air quality and county manufacturing data to quantify manufacturing's pollution intensity by industry. These estimates are used to judge which Rust Belt cities experienced large environmental improvements. Valuation estimates are used to judge the economic magnitude of the pollution reduction. The incidence of this local land improvement and its impact on city quality of life dynamics are addressed.
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