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Do EPA Regulations Affect Labor Demand? Evidence From the Pulp and Paper Industry

  • Wayne B. Gray
  • Ronald J. Shadbegian
  • Chunbei Wang
  • Merve Cebi

The popular belief is that environmental regulation must reduce employment, since suchregulations are expected to increase production costs, which would raise prices and thus reducedemand for output, at least in a competitive market. Although this effect might seem obvious, a careful microeconomic analysis shows that it is not guaranteed. Even if environmental regulation reduces output in the regulated industry, abating pollution could require additional labor (e.g. to monitor the abatement capital and meet EPA reporting requirements). It is also possible for pollution abatement technologies to be labor enhancing. In this paper we analyze how a particular EPA regulation, the so-called “Cluster Rule” (CR) imposed on the pulp and paper industry in 2001, affected employment in that sector. Using establishment level data from the Census of Manufacturers and Annual Survey of Manufacturers at the U.S. Census Bureau from 1992-2007 we find evidence of small employment declines (on the order of 3%-7%), which are sometimes statistically significant, at a subset of the plants covered by the CR.

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File URL: ftp://ftp2.census.gov/ces/wp/2013/CES-WP-13-39.pdf
File Function: First version, 2013
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Paper provided by Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau in its series Working Papers with number 13-39.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:13-39
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  1. Ron S Jarmin & Javier Miranda, 2002. "The Longitudinal Business Database," Working Papers 02-17, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  2. Ronald Shadbegian & Wayne Gray, 2006. "Assessing multi-dimensional performance: environmental and economic outcomes," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 26(3), pages 213-234, December.
  3. Ronald J. Shadbegian & Wayne B. Gray, 2003. "What Determines Environmental Performance at Paper Mills? The Roles of Abatement Spending, Regulation, and Efficiency," NCEE Working Paper Series 200303, National Center for Environmental Economics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, revised Apr 2003.
  4. Eli Berman & Linda T. Bui, 1997. "Environmental Regulation and Labor Demand: Evidence from the South Coast Air Basin," Papers 0082, Boston University - Industry Studies Programme.
  5. Gray, Wayne B & Shadbegian, Ronald J, 1998. "Environmental Regulation, Investment Timing, and Technology Choice," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(2), pages 235-56, June.
  6. Boyd, Gale A. & McClelland, John D., 1999. "The Impact of Environmental Constraints on Productivity Improvement in Integrated Paper Plants," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 121-142, September.
  7. Michael Greenstone, 2002. "The Impacts of Environmental Regulations on Industrial Activity: Evidence from the 1970 and 1977 Clean Air Act Amendments and the Census of Manufactures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(6), pages 1175-1219, December.
  8. Eli Berman & Linda T. M. Bui, 2001. "Environmental Regulation And Productivity: Evidence From Oil Refineries," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(3), pages 498-510, August.
  9. Laplante, Benoit & Rilstone, Paul, 1996. "Environmental Inspections and Emissions of the Pulp and Paper Industry in Quebec," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 19-36, July.
  10. Wayne B Gray & Ronald J Shadbegian, 2001. "Plant Vintage, Technology, and Environmental Regulation," Working Papers 01-08, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  11. Ronald Shadbegian & Wayne Gray, 2003. "Pollution Abatement Expenditures and Plant-Level Productivity: A Production Function Approach," Working Papers 03-16, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  12. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2002. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?," NBER Working Papers 8841, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Karikallio, Hanna & Mäki-Fränti, Petri & Suhonen, Niko, 2011. "Competition in the global pulp and paper industries - An evaluation based on three approaches," Journal of Forest Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 91-104, January.
  14. Morgenstern, Richard D. & Pizer, William A. & Shih, Jhih-Shyang, 2002. "Jobs Versus the Environment: An Industry-Level Perspective," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 412-436, May.
  15. Cole Matthew A & Elliott Rob J, 2007. "Do Environmental Regulations Cost Jobs? An Industry-Level Analysis of the UK," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-27, June.
  16. Fare, R. & Grosskopf, S. & Pasurka, C., 1986. "Effects on relative efficiency in electric power generation due to environmental controls," Resources and Energy, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 167-184, June.
  17. W. Reed Walker, 2011. "Environmental Regulation and Labor Reallocation: Evidence from the Clean Air Act," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 442-47, May.
  18. Magat, Wesley A & Viscusi, W Kip, 1990. "Effectiveness of the EPA's Regulatory Enforcement: The Case of Industrial Effluent Standards," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(2), pages 331-60, October.
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