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Why is Pollution from U.S. Manufacturing Declining? The Roles of Environmental Regulation, Productivity, and Trade

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  • Joseph S. Shapiro
  • Reed Walker

Abstract

Between 1990 and 2008, air pollution emissions from U.S. manufacturing fell by 60 percent despite a substantial increase in manufacturing output. We show that these emissions reductions are primarily driven by within-product changes in emissions intensity rather than changes in output or in the composition of products produced. We then develop and estimate a quantitative model linking trade with the environment to better understand the economic forces driving these changes. Our estimates suggest that the implicit pollution tax that manufacturers face doubled between 1990 and 2008. These changes in environmental regulation, rather than changes in productivity and trade, account for most of the emissions reductions.

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  • Joseph S. Shapiro & Reed Walker, 2015. "Why is Pollution from U.S. Manufacturing Declining? The Roles of Environmental Regulation, Productivity, and Trade," Working Papers 15-03, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:15-03
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    JEL classification:

    • F18 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Environment
    • F64 - International Economics - - Economic Impacts of Globalization - - - Environment
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth

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