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Pollution control innovations and the Clean Air Act of 1990

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  • David Popp

    (Department of Public Administration, The Maxwell School, Syracuse University)

Abstract

One advantage often cited for market-based environmental policies is that they are more likely to promote technological innovation than are command and control regulations. This paper uses patent data to study innovation in flue gas desulfurization units (“scrubbers”) across these policy regimes. Plant level data indicate that the effect of these patents on pollution control changed after passage of the 1990 Clean Air Act, which instituted a market for sulfur dioxide (SO 2 ) permits. Previous regulations requiring plants constructed before 1990 to install scrubbers created incentives for innovation that lowered the costs of operating scrubbers, but did little to improve the environmental effectiveness of the technology. In comparison, innovations occurring since 1990 do serve to improve the removal efficiency of scrubbers. © 2003 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.

Suggested Citation

  • David Popp, 2003. "Pollution control innovations and the Clean Air Act of 1990," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(4), pages 641-660.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:22:y:2003:i:4:p:641-660
    DOI: 10.1002/pam.10159
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/pam.10159
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    1. Jaffe, Adam B. & Newell, Richard G. & Stavins, Robert N., 2003. "Chapter 11 Technological change and the environment," Handbook of Environmental Economics,in: K. G. Mäler & J. R. Vincent (ed.), Handbook of Environmental Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 11, pages 461-516 Elsevier.
    2. Milliman, Scott R. & Prince, Raymond, 1992. "Firm incentives to promote technological change in pollution control: Reply," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 292-296, May.
    3. Bellas, Allen S., 1998. "Empirical evidence of advances in scrubber technology," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 327-343, December.
    4. Burtraw, Dallas, 2000. "Innovation Under the Tradable Sulfur Dioxide Emission Permits Program in the U.S. Electricity Sector," Discussion Papers dp-00-38, Resources For the Future.
    5. Joskow, Paul L & Schmalensee, Richard & Bailey, Elizabeth M, 1998. "The Market for Sulfur Dioxide Emissions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 669-685, September.
    6. Lanjouw, Jean Olson & Mody, Ashoka, 1996. "Innovation and the international diffusion of environmentally responsive technology," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 549-571, June.
    7. Milliman, Scott R. & Prince, Raymond, 1989. "Firm incentives to promote technological change in pollution control," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 247-265, November.
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