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Location Decisions of U.S. Polluting Plants: Theory, Empirical Evidence, and Consequences

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  • Shadbegian, Ronald
  • Wolverton, Ann

Abstract

Economists have long been interested in explaining the spatial distribution of economic activity, focusing on what factors motivate profit-maximizing firms when they choose to open a new plant or expand an existing facility. We begin our paper with a general discussion of the theory of plant location, including the role of taxes and agglomeration economies. However, our paper focuses on the theory, evidence, and implications of the role of environmental regulations in plant location decisions. On its face, environmental regulation would not necessarily be expected to alter location decisions, since we would expect Federal regulation to affect all locations in the United States essentially equally. It turns out, however, that this is not always the case as some geographic areas are subject to greater stringency. Another source of variation is differences across states in the way they implement and enforce compliance with Federal regulation. In light of these spatial differences in the costs of complying with environmental regulations, we discuss three main questions in this survey: Do environmental regulations affect the location decisions of polluting plants? Do states compete for polluting plants through differences in environmental regulation? And, do firms locate polluting plants disproportionately near poor and minority neighborhoods?

Suggested Citation

  • Shadbegian, Ronald & Wolverton, Ann, 2010. "Location Decisions of U.S. Polluting Plants: Theory, Empirical Evidence, and Consequences," International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics, now publishers, vol. 4(1), pages 1-49, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:now:jirere:101.00000029
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1561/101.00000029
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    Cited by:

    1. Chen, Zhao & Kahn, Matthew E. & Liu, Yu & Wang, Zhi, 2018. "The consequences of spatially differentiated water pollution regulation in China," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 468-485.
    2. Garrone, Paola & Groppi, Angelamaria, 2012. "Siting locally-unwanted facilities: What can be learnt from the location of Italian power plants," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 176-186.
    3. Millimet, Daniel L. & Roy, Jayjit, 2011. "Three New Empirical Tests of the Pollution Haven Hypothesis When Environmental Regulation is Endogenous," IZA Discussion Papers 5911, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Rammer, Christian & Gottschalk, Sandra & Peneder, Michael & Wörter, Martin & Stucki, Tobias & Arvanitis, Spyros, 2017. "Does energy policy hurt international competitiveness of firms? A comparative study for Germany, Switzerland and Austria," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 154-180.
    5. repec:eee:enepol:v:114:y:2018:i:c:p:245-261 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Spyros Arvanitis & Michael Peneder & Christian Rammer & Tobias Stucki & Martin Wörter, 2016. "The adoption of green energy technologies: The role of policies in an international comparison," KOF Working papers 16-411, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
    7. Spyros Arvanitis & Michael Peneder & Christian Rammer & Tobias Stucki & Martin Wörter, 2016. "How Different Policy Instruments Affect the Creation of Green Energy Innovation: A Differentiated Perspective," KOF Working papers 16-417, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
    8. Sunghoon Chung, 2012. "Environmental Regulation and the Pattern of Outward FDI: An Empirical Assessment of the Pollution Haven Hypothesis," Departmental Working Papers 1203, Southern Methodist University, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Plant location decisions; Environmental policy; Inter-jurisdictional competition; Environmental justice;

    JEL classification:

    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • Q52 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Pollution Control Adoption and Costs; Distributional Effects; Employment Effects

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