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Zoning as a control of pollution in a spatial environment


  • Hochman, Oded
  • Rausser, Gordon C.


Space matters not only because of the transportation costs it imposes on the economy but also because it can serve as an effective instrument to control pollution damages. Previous models of pollution either disregard space altogether or presume a predetermined separation between polluters and pollutees, usually into a CBD where the polluting industry is located and a residential ring where the city's laborers reside. All possible location combinations of housing and industry are considered in this study. The results demonstrate that the management of pollution must recognize the trade-off between two cost components: pollution costs and transportation costs. This trade-off along with the non-convexity inherent in spatial models results in multiple local optima. Negligible commuting costs combined with pollution emissions bearing ill effects at a rate declining with distance leads to an allocation with one industrial zone and one residential zone. As commuting costs increase, the optimal allocation passes through an endogenously determined series of increasing thresholds. Each time a threshold is crossed the number of zones of each type increases until the internal solution is reached after the final threshold has been crossed. In the internal solution, there is no commuting, and housing and industry assume adjacent locations. In such an economy, Pigouvian taxes are generally inefficient. Instead, the efficient tax is a per unit land tax equal to the additional damages contributed by that land unit's pollution.

Suggested Citation

  • Hochman, Oded & Rausser, Gordon C., 1999. "Zoning as a control of pollution in a spatial environment," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series qt0qq9849t, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:agrebk:qt0qq9849t

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. T. H. Tietenberg, 1978. "Spatially Differentiated Air Pollutant Emission Charges: An Economic and Legal Analysis," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 54(3), pages 265-277.
    2. Mills, Edwin S & Ferranti, David M, 1971. "Market Choices and Optimum City Size," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(2), pages 340-345, May.
    3. Polinsky, A Mitchell, 1980. "Strict Liability vs. Negligence in a Market Setting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(2), pages 363-367, May.
    4. Kolstad, Charles D., 1987. "Uniformity versus differentiation in regulating externalities," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 386-399, December.
    5. Baumol,William J. & Oates,Wallace E., 1988. "The Theory of Environmental Policy," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521322249, March.
    6. Spulber, Daniel F., 1985. "Effluent regulation and long-run optimality," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 103-116, June.
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