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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. Wayne B. Gray & Ronald J. Shadbegian, 1997. "Environmental Regulation, Investment Timing, and Technology Choice," NBER Working Papers 6036, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Wayne B. Gray & Ronald J. Shadbegian, 2001. "Plant Vintage, Technology, and Environmental Regulation," NCEE Working Paper Series 200104, National Center for Environmental Economics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, revised Nov 2001.
  3. 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.
  4. Ronald Shadbegian & Wayne Gray, 2005. "Assessing Multi-Dimensional Performance: Environmental and Economic Outcomes," Working Papers 05-03, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  5. Berman, Eli & Bui, Linda T. M., 2001. "Environmental regulation and labor demand: evidence from the South Coast Air Basin," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 265-295, February.
  6. Eli Berman & Linda T.M. Bui, 1998. "Environmental Regulation and Productivity: Evidence from Oil Refineries," Papers 0091, Boston University - Industry Studies Programme.
  7. 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.
  8. Ron S Jarmin & Javier Miranda, 2002. "The Longitudinal Business Database," Working Papers 02-17, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  9. Shadbegian, Ronald J. & Gray, Wayne B., 2005. "Pollution abatement expenditures and plant-level productivity: A production function approach," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2-3), pages 196-208, August.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
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