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Environmental Regulatory Competition: A Status Report and Some New Evidence

  • Levinson, Arik

Concerns about devolving environmental regulatory powers to lower levels of government permeate debates in the U.S. and Europe about the appropriate level of regulatory authority. In theory, given a long list of conditions, regulatory competition by local governments can be efficient in the same way that tax competition can be efficient: local welfare-maximizing governments set the same standards or taxes as would an omniscient welfare-maximizing central government. In practice, however, these conditions are improbable, especially in the case of environmental regulations, and local competition is potentially inefficient. In the past two years, evidence has begun to emerge regarding the empirical importance of these inefficiencies. In this paper, I describe this nascent literature, drawing parallels to the tax competition literature, suggest some avenues for empirical research, and present some new results.

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Article provided by National Tax Association in its journal National Tax Journal.

Volume (Year): 56 (2003)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 91-106

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Handle: RePEc:ntj:journl:v:56:y:2003:i:1:p:91-106
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  2. Hilary Sigman, 2002. "Letting States Do the Dirty Work: State Responsibility for Federal Environmental Regulation," Departmental Working Papers 200228, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  3. Yuquing Xing & Charles Kolstad, 2002. "Do Lax Environmental Regulations Attract Foreign Investment?," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 21(1), pages 1-22, January.
  4. Josh Ederington & Jenny Minier, 2003. "Is environmental policy a secondary trade barrier? An empirical analysis," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 36(1), pages 137-154, February.
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  7. Jan K. Brueckner & Luz A. Saavedra, 2000. "Do Local Governments Engage in Strategic Property-Tax Competition?," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0357, Econometric Society.
  8. Michael Greenstone, 2001. "The Impacts of Environmental Regulations on Industrial Activity: Evidence from the 1970 & 1977 Clean Air Act Amendments and the Census of Manufactures," NBER Working Papers 8484, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Oates, Wallace E. & Schwab, Robert M., 1988. "Economic competition among jurisdictions: efficiency enhancing or distortion inducing?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 333-354, April.
  10. Levinson, Arik, 1999. "NIMBY taxes matter: the case of state hazardous waste disposal taxes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 31-51, October.
  11. Rosanne Altshuler & Timothy J. Goodspeed, 2002. "Follow the Leader? Evidence on European and U.S. Tax Competition," Departmental Working Papers 200226, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  12. Case, Anne C. & Rosen, Harvey S. & Hines, James Jr., 1993. "Budget spillovers and fiscal policy interdependence : Evidence from the states," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 285-307, October.
  13. Michael Greenstone, 2002. "The Impacts of Environmental Regulations on Industrial Activity: Evidence from the 1970 and 1977 Clean Air Act Amendments and the Census of Manufactures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(6), pages 1175-1219, December.
  14. Peltzman, Sam & Tideman, T Nicolaus, 1972. "Local versus National Pollution Control: Note," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(5), pages 959-63, December.
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  16. Pashigian, B Peter, 1985. "Environmental Regulation: Whose Self-interests Are Being Protected?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 23(4), pages 551-84, October.
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  18. James R. Markusen & Edward R. Morey & Nancy Olewiler, 1992. "Noncooperative Equilibria in Regional Environmental Policies When Plant Locations are Endogenous," NBER Working Papers 4051, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  20. John A. List & Shelby Gerking, 2000. "Regulatory Federalism and Environmental Protection in the United States," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(3), pages 453-471.
  21. Fredriksson, Per G. & Millimet, Daniel L., 2002. "Is there a 'California effect' in US environmental policymaking?," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 737-764, November.
  22. Wilson, John Douglas, 1999. "Theories of Tax Competition," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 2), pages 269-304, June.
  23. Gordon, Roger H, 1983. "An Optimal Taxation Approach to Fiscal Federalism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 98(4), pages 567-86, November.
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  25. Carlo Carraro & Gilbert E. Metcalf, 2001. "Behavioral and Distributional Effects of Environmental Policy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number carr01-1, January.
  26. Robert Tannenwald, 1998. "Devolution: the new federalism, an overview," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue May, pages 1-12.
  27. Daniel L. Millimet & John A. List, 2003. "A Natural Experiment on the 'Race to the Bottom' Hypothesis: Testing for Stochastic Dominance in Temporal Pollution Trends," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 65(4), pages 395-420, 09.
  28. Heyndels, Bruno & Vuchelen, Jef, 1998. "Tax Mimicking Among Belgian Municipalities," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 51(n. 1), pages 89-101, March.
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