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Pollution control innovations and the Clean Air Act of 1990

  • David Popp

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

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    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.

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/pam.10159
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    Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.

    Volume (Year): 22 (2003)
    Issue (Month): 4 ()
    Pages: 641-660

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    Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:22:y:2003:i:4:p:641-660
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/34787/home

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    1. Bellas, Allen S., 1998. "Empirical evidence of advances in scrubber technology," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 327-343, December.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    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. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. 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 669-85, September.
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