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Measuring the Effects of Environmental Regulations: The Critical Importance of a Spatially Disaggregated Analysis

  • Auffhammer, Maximilian
  • Bento, Antonio M.
  • Lowe, Scott E.

We examine the effects of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments (CAAA) on ambient concentrations of PM10 in the United States between 1990 and 2005. Consistent with prior literature, we find that non-attainment designation has no effect on the average monitor in non-attainment counties, after controlling for weather, socioeconomic characteristics at the county level and lagged concentrations. In sharp contrast, if we allow for heterogeneous treatment by type of monitor and county, we do find that the 1990 CAAA produced substantial effects. Our estimation results suggest that non-attainment counties with single monitors experienced a drop in concentrations of 10.5% relative to attainment counties. In non-attainment counties with multiple monitors, the overall effect of the regulation is an increase of ambient PM10 concentrations by 1.9%. The dirtiest monitors in these counties, however, experienced drops in PM10 of 6.1%, which suggest that regulators focus their attention on the dirtiest monitors.

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Paper provided by Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley in its series Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series with number qt8d12x8pp.

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Date of creation: 29 Aug 2007
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Handle: RePEc:cdl:agrebk:qt8d12x8pp
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  1. Daniel L. Millimet & John A. List & Thanasis Stengos, 2003. "The Environmental Kuznets Curve: Real Progress or Misspecified Models?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 1038-1047, November.
  2. Greenstone, Michael, 2004. "Did the Clean Air Act cause the remarkable decline in sulfur dioxide concentrations?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 585-611, May.
  3. Kenneth Y. Chay & Michael Greenstone, 1998. "Does Air Quality Matter? Evidence from the Housing Market," NBER Working Papers 6826, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Vernon Henderson, 1995. "Effects of Air Quality Regulation," NBER Working Papers 5118, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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