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Regulatory Federalism and the Distribution of Air Pollutant Emissions

  • Erwin Bulte
  • John A. List
  • Mark C. Strazicich

The spatial and temporal distributions of income and pollution have important implications in both a positive and normative sense. Recent empirical work suggests that (i) incomes have spatially converged through time, and (ii) income and pollution levels are linked. This paper weds these two literatures by examining the spatial and temporal distribution of pollution. After establishing that theoretical predictions about whether pollution converges or diverges are critically linked to certain structural parameters, we explore pollution convergence using state-level data on two important pollutants—nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides—from 1929-1999. We find stronger evidence of convergence in emission rates during the federal pollution control years (1970-1999) than during the local control years (1929-1969). These results suggest that income convergence alone may not be sufficient to induce convergence of pollutant emissions.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Appalachian State University in its series Working Papers with number 04-16.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:apl:wpaper:04-16
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Web page: http://economics.appstate.edu/

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  1. N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1990. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 3541, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Loewy, Michael B. & Papell, David H., 1996. "Are U.S. regional incomes converging? Some further evidence," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 587-598, December.
  3. Timothy J. Vogelsang & Marc Tomljanovich, 2002. "Are U.S. regions converging? Using new econometric methods to examine old issues," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 49-62.
  4. Seema Arora & Timothy N. Cason, 1999. "Do Community Characteristics Influence Environmental Outcomes? Evidence from the Toxics Release Inventory," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 65(4), pages 691-716, April.
  5. Charles M. Tiebout, 1956. "A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64, pages 416.
  6. Wellisch,Dietmar, 2000. "Theory of Public Finance in a Federal State," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521630351, Junio.
  7. Stokey, Nancy L, 1998. "Are There Limits to Growth?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(1), pages 1-31, February.
  8. John List & Daniel Millimet, 2003. "A Natural Experiment on the 'Race to the Bottom' Hypothesis: Testing for Stochastic Dominance in Temporal Pollution Trends," Natural Field Experiments 00505, The Field Experiments Website.
  9. Wallace E. Oates, 1991. "Studies In Fiscal Federalism," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 342.
  10. Leonard P. Gianessi & Henry M. Peskin & Edward Wolff, 1979. "The Distributional Effects of Uniform Air Pollution Policy in the United States," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 93(2), pages 281-301.
  11. John List & Daniel Millimet & Thanasis Stengos, 2003. "The Environmental Kuznets Curve: Real Progress or Misspecified Models?," Natural Field Experiments 00500, The Field Experiments Website.
  12. Perron, P, 1988. "The Great Crash, The Oil Price Shock And The Unit Root Hypothesis," Papers 338, Princeton, Department of Economics - Econometric Research Program.
  13. Nunes, Luis C & Newbold, Paul & Kuan, Chung-Ming, 1997. "Testing for Unit Roots with Breaks: Evidence on the Great Crash and the Unit Root Hypothesis Reconsidered," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 59(4), pages 435-48, November.
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