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Air Pollution Abatement Costs Under the Clean Air Act: Evidence from the PACE Survey

  • Randy Becker

This paper uses establishment-level data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Pollution Abatement Costs and Expenditures (PACE) survey to investigate the effects of air quality regulation on the air pollution abatement capital expenditures and operating costs of manufacturing plants from 1979-1988. Results, based on some 90,000 observations, show that heavy emitters of the “criteria” air pollutants (covered under the Clean Air Act) had significantly larger APA costs, and those subject to greater “local” regulation (due to county NAAQS non-attainment) had expenditures that were greater still. The local regulation of a particular air pollutant generally resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars (or more) of additional costs, with larger establishments and capital expenditures disproportionately affected. Federal and state environmental standards appear to have played a notable role, particularly in industries producing chemicals, petroleum, primary metals, and nonmetallic minerals. The findings of this paper support those of several recent studies.

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File URL: ftp://ftp2.census.gov/ces/wp/2001/CES-WP-01-12.pdf
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Paper provided by Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau in its series Working Papers with number 01-12.

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Date of creation: Dec 2001
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Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:01-12
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  1. Adam B. Jaffe et al., 1995. "Environmental Regulation and the Competitiveness of U.S. Manufacturing: What Does the Evidence Tell Us?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(1), pages 132-163, March.
  2. Randy A. Becker & J. Vernon Henderson, 2001. "Costs of Air Quality Regulation," NBER Chapters, in: Behavioral and Distributional Effects of Environmental Policy, pages 159-186 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Kahn, Matthew E & Matsusaka, John G, 1997. "Demand for Environmental Goods: Evidence from Voting Patterns on California Initiatives," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 40(1), pages 137-73, April.
  4. Arik Levinson, 2001. "An Industry-Adjusted Index of State Environmental Compliance Costs," NBER Chapters, in: Behavioral and Distributional Effects of Environmental Policy, pages 131-158 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Kahn, Matthew E., 1997. "Particulate pollution trends in the United States," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 87-107, February.
  6. Levinson, Arik, 1996. "Environmental regulations and manufacturers' location choices: Evidence from the Census of Manufactures," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1-2), pages 5-29, October.
  7. John A. List & W. Warren McHone, 2000. "Measuring the effects of air quality regulations on "dirty" firm births: Evidence from the neo- and mature-regulatory periods," Papers in Regional Science, Springer, vol. 79(2), pages 177-190.
  8. Matthew E. Kahn, 1998. "The Silver Lining of Rust Belt Manufacturing Decline," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1828, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  9. William Harbaugh & Arik Levinson & David Wilson, 2000. "Reexamining the Empirical Evidence for an Environmental Kuznets Curve," NBER Working Papers 7711, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Randy Becker & Vernon Henderson, 2000. "Effects of Air Quality Regulations on Polluting Industries," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(2), pages 379-421, April.
  11. Wayne B Gray & Ronald J Shadbegian, 1994. "Pollution Abatement Costs, Regulation And Plant-Level Productivity," Working Papers 94-14, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  12. Wayne B Gray, 1997. "Manufacturing Plant Location: Does State Pollution Regulation Matter?," Working Papers 97-8, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  13. Henderson, J Vernon, 1996. "Effects of Air Quality Regulation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 789-813, September.
  14. Diane Hite, 2000. "A Random Utility Model of Environmental Equity," Growth and Change, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(1), pages 40-58.
  15. 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.
  16. Revesz, Richard L. & Stavins, Robert N., 2007. "Environmental Law," Handbook of Law and Economics, Elsevier.
  17. Dean, Thomas J. & Brown, Robert L. & Stango, Victor, 2000. "Environmental Regulation as a Barrier to the Formation of Small Manufacturing Establishments: A Longitudinal Examination," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 56-75, July.
  18. Gray, Wayne B. & Deily, Mary E., 1996. "Compliance and Enforcement: Air Pollution Regulation in the U.S. Steel Industry," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 96-111, July.
  19. Carlo Carraro & Gilbert E. Metcalf, 2000. "Behavioral and Distributional Effects of Environmental Policy Introduction," NBER Working Papers 7648, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Pashigian, B Peter, 1984. "The Effect of Environmental Regulation on Optimal Plant Size and Factor Shares," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(1), pages 1-28, April.
  21. Cragg, John G, 1971. "Some Statistical Models for Limited Dependent Variables with Application to the Demand for Durable Goods," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 39(5), pages 829-44, September.
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