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Estimating the Economic Benefits of Cleaning Up Superfund Sites: The Case of Woburn, Massachusetts

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  • Kiel, Katherine
  • Zabel, Jeffrey

Abstract

Superfund was established in 1980 to deal with closed and abandoned hazardous waste sites. Given the large amounts of money being spent on cleanups of Superfund sites, one might hope that the money is being spent in a cost-effective manner, but there is little evidence that the estimated benefits from cleanup affect the cleanup decision. We apply the hedonic method to house prices to estimate the individual willingness to pay (WTP) to clean up a Superfund site. We then show how the individual WTP can be used to calculate the total benefits from cleaning up the site so that a cost-benefit analysis of Superfund cleanup can be undertaken. We apply our technique to the two Superfund sites in Woburn, Massachusetts. We find that the benefits from cleaning up these sites are in the range of $72 million to $122 million (1992 dollars). It is likely that these benefits are greater than the present value of the estimated costs of cleaning up these sites. Thus it appears that the cleanup of the Woburn Superfund sites results in positive net benefits to society. Copyright 2001 by Kluwer Academic Publishers

Suggested Citation

  • Kiel, Katherine & Zabel, Jeffrey, 2001. "Estimating the Economic Benefits of Cleaning Up Superfund Sites: The Case of Woburn, Massachusetts," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 22(2-3), pages 163-184, March-May.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jrefec:v:22:y:2001:i:2-3:p:163-84
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    Cited by:

    1. Friso de Vor & Henri L.F. de Groot, 0000. "The Impact of Industrial Sites on Residential Property Values," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 09-035/3, Tinbergen Institute.
    2. Deaton, Brady J., Jr. & Hoehn, John P., 2002. "The Effect Of Hazardous Waste Sites On Property Values In Zones Of High Industrial Activity: A Hedonic Approach," 2002 Annual meeting, July 28-31, Long Beach, CA 19612, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    3. Cameron, Trudy Ann, 2006. "Directional heterogeneity in distance profiles in hedonic property value models," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 26-45, January.
    4. John Chamblee & Carolyn Dehring & Craig Depken & Joseph Nicholson, 2015. "Water Contamination, Land Prices, and the Statute of Repose," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 51(3), pages 398-414, October.
    5. Niels Vermeer & Wouter Vermeulen, 2011. "External Benefits of Brownfield Redevelopment: An Applied Urban General Equilibrium Analysis," CPB Discussion Paper 178, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    6. Michael Greenstone & Justin Gallagher, 2008. "Does Hazardous Waste Matter? Evidence from the Housing Market and the Superfund Program," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(3), pages 951-1003.
    7. Ida Ferrara & Stephen McComb & Paul Missios, 2007. "Local Willingness-to-Pay Estimates for the Remediation of the Sydney Tar Ponds in Nova Scotia," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 33(4), pages 441-458, December.
    8. Kim, Jungik & Goldsmith, Peter D. & Thomas, Michael H., 2004. "Using Spatial Econometrics To Assess The Impact Of Swine Production On Residential Property Values," 2004 Annual meeting, August 1-4, Denver, CO 20186, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    9. Ralph Mastromonaco, 2014. "Hazardous Waste Hits Hollywood: Superfund and Housing Prices in Los Angeles," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 59(2), pages 207-230, October.
    10. Schwartz, Amy Ellen & Ellen, Ingrid Gould & Voicu, Ioan & Schill, Michael H., 2006. "The external effects of place-based subsidized housing," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(6), pages 679-707, November.
    11. J.-D. Rinaudo & S. Aulong, 2014. "Defining Groundwater Remediation Objectives with Cost-benefit Analysis: Does It Work?," Water Resources Management: An International Journal, Published for the European Water Resources Association (EWRA), Springer;European Water Resources Association (EWRA), vol. 28(1), pages 261-278, January.
    12. Hans R.A. Koster & Jan Rouwendal, 2012. "The Impact Of Mixed Land Use On Residential Property Values," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(5), pages 733-761, December.
    13. Dennis Kaufman & Norman Cloutier, 2006. "The Impact of Small Brownfields and Greenspaces on Residential Property Values," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 33(1), pages 19-30, August.
    14. Robin R. Jenkins & Elizabeth Kopits & David Simpson, 2006. "Measuring the Social Benefits of EPA Land Cleanup and Reuse Programs," NCEE Working Paper Series 200603, National Center for Environmental Economics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, revised Sep 2006.
    15. Stefania Tonin & Margherita Turvani, 2011. "Environmental contamination and industrial real estate market: an application of hedonic price method in Italy," ERSA conference papers ersa10p511, European Regional Science Association.
    16. Kim, GwanSeon & Schieffer, Jack & Mark, Tyler, 2016. "Do Superfund Sites Affect Local Property Values? Evidence from a Spatial Hedonic Approach," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, 2016, Boston, Massachusetts 235835, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    17. John Braden & Xia Feng & DooHwan Won, 2011. "Waste Sites and Property Values: A Meta-Analysis," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 50(2), pages 175-201, October.
    18. Evans, Keith Shannon, 2011. "Problems of uncertainty, learning, and welfare measurement in resource and environmental economics," ISU General Staff Papers 201101010800001072, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    19. Wernstedt, Kris & Alberini, Anna & Heberle, Lauren & Meyer, Peter, 2004. "The Brownfields Phenomenon: Much Ado about Something or the Timing of the Shrewd?," Discussion Papers dp-04-46, Resources For the Future.
    20. Ho, Sa Chau & Hite, Diane, 2004. "Economic Impact Of Environmental Health Risks On House Values In Southeast Region: A County-Level Analysis," 2004 Annual meeting, August 1-4, Denver, CO 19921, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    21. Dennis Guignet, 2013. "What Do Property Values Really Tell Us? A Hedonic Study of Underground Storage Tanks," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 89(2), pages 211-226.
    22. Kris Wernstedt, 2004. "Overview of Existing Studies on Community Impacts of Land Reuse," NCEE Working Paper Series 200406, National Center for Environmental Economics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, revised Jun 2004.
    23. Phaneuf, Daniel J. & Liu, Xiangping, 2016. "Disentangling property value impacts of environmental contamination from locally undesirable land uses: Implications for measuring post-cleanup stigmaAuthor-Name: Taylor, Laura O," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 85-98.
    24. Olivier Parent & Rainer Hofe, 2013. "Understanding the impact of trails on residential property values in the presence of spatial dependence," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 51(2), pages 355-375, October.

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