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The Impacts of Environmental Regulations on Industrial Activity: Evidence from the 1970 and 1977 Clean Air Act Amendments and the Census of Manufactures

Listed author(s):
  • Michael Greenstone

This paper estimates the impacts of the Clean Air Act's division of counties into pollutant-specific nonattainment and attainment categories on measures of industrial activity obtained from 1.75 million plant observations from the Census of Manufactures. Emitters of the controlled pollutants in nonattainment counties were subject to greater regulatory oversight than emitters in attainment counties. The preferred statistical model for plant-level growth includes plant fixed effects, industry by period fixed effects, and county by period fixed effects. The estimates from this model suggest that in the first 15 years in which the Clean Air Act was in force (197287), nonattainment counties (relative to attainment ones) lost approximately 590,000 jobs, $37 billion in capital stock, and $75 billion (1987 dollars) of output in pollution-intensive industries. These findings are robust across many specifications, and the effects are apparent in many polluting industries.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/342808
File Function: main text
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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 110 (2002)
Issue (Month): 6 (December)
Pages: 1175-1219

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:110:y:2002:i:6:p:1175-1219
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JPE/

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  1. Jacobson, Louis S & LaLonde, Robert J & Sullivan, Daniel G, 1993. "Earnings Losses of Displaced Workers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 685-709, September.
  2. Virginia D. McConnell & Robert M. Schwab, 1990. "The Impact of Environmental Regulation on Industry Location Decisions: The Motor Vehicle Industry," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 66(1), pages 67-81.
  3. Steve J. Davis & John Haltiwanger, 1991. "Gross job creation, gross job destruction and employment reallocation," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 91-5, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  4. Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2000. "Selection on Observed and Unobserved Variables: Assessing the Effectiveness of Catholic Schools," NBER Working Papers 7831, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Becker, Randy A., 2005. "Air pollution abatement costs under the Clean Air Act: evidence from the PACE survey," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 144-169, July.
  6. Wayne B Gray & Ronald J Shadbegian, 1994. "Pollution Abatement Costs, Regulation And Plant-Level Productivity," Working Papers 94-14, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  7. Nadeau, Louis W., 1997. "EPA Effectiveness at Reducing the Duration of Plant-Level Noncompliance," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 54-78, September.
  8. Avinash K. Dixit & Robert S. Pindyck, 1994. "Investment under Uncertainty," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 5474.
  9. Eli Berman & Linda T. M. Bui, 2001. "Environmental Regulation And Productivity: Evidence From Oil Refineries," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(3), pages 498-510, August.
  10. Randy Becker & Vernon Henderson, 2000. "Effects of Air Quality Regulations on Polluting Industries," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(2), pages 379-421, April.
  11. Louis S. Jacobson & Robert J. LaLonde & Daniel G. Sullivan, 1993. "Long-term earnings losses of high-seniority displaced workers," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Nov, pages 2-20.
  12. Barbera, Anthony J & McConnell, Virginia D, 1986. "Effects of Pollution Control on Industry Productivity: A Factor Demand Approach," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(2), pages 161-172, December.
  13. Valerie A. Ramey & Matthew D. Shapiro, 2001. "Displaced Capital: A Study of Aerospace Plant Closings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(5), pages 958-992, October.
  14. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-838, May.
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