Measuring The Impact Of The Toxics Release Inventory: Evidence From Manufacturing Plant Births
The Toxics Release Inventory was the first major initiative to take a disclosurebased approach to environmental regulation and has served as the model for several other disclosure-based environmental policies. Yet the magnitude of its direct impacts on industrial manufacturing outcomes has not been established. I use Census Bureau micro-data to estimate the impacts of the Toxics Release Inventory on the opening of new manufacturing plants. I find that on average, counties that were found to be among the dirtiest in the country, in terms of toxic emissions, experienced a decrease in “dirty” plant births and an even larger increase in “clean” plant births. Furthermore, the magnitude of this shift is closely related to per capita income in the affected coun- ties - the effect is strongest in high-income communities and is reversed in low-income communities. I discuss the implications for information-based environmental policies.
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