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Environmental Regulation And Manufacturing Productivity At The Plant Level

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  • Wayne B Gray
  • Ronald J Shadbegian

Abstract

This paper presents results for an analysis of plant-level data from three manufacturing industries (paper, oil, and steel). We combine productivity data from the Longitudinal Research Database ( LRD ) with pollution abatement expenditures from the Census Bureau's Pollution Abatement Cost and Expenditures (PACE) survey, as well as regulatory measures taken from datasets maintained by the Environmental Protection Agency. We use data from 1979 to 1985, considering both labor and total factor productivity, both levels and growth rates, and both annual measures and averages over the period. We find a strong connection between regulation and productivity when regulation is measured by compliance costs. More regulated plants have significantly lower productivity levels and slower productivity growth rates than less regulated plants. The magnitude of the impacts are larger than expected: a $1 increase in compliance costs appears to reduce TFP by the equivalent of $3 to $4. Thus, commonly used methods of calculating the impact of regulation on productivity are substantially underestimated. These results are generally consistent across industries and for different estimation methods. Our other measures of regulation (compliance status, enforcement activity, and emissions) show much less consistent results. Higher enforcement, lower compliance, and higher emissions are generally associated with lower productivity levels and slower productivity growth, but the coefficients are rarely significant.

Suggested Citation

  • Wayne B Gray & Ronald J Shadbegian, 1993. "Environmental Regulation And Manufacturing Productivity At The Plant Level," Working Papers 93-6, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:93-6
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    File URL: https://www2.census.gov/ces/wp/1993/CES-WP-93-06.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Barbera, Anthony J & McConnell, Virginia D, 1986. "Effects of Pollution Control on Industry Productivity: A Factor Demand Approach," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(2), pages 161-172, December.
    2. J. R. Norsworthy & Michael J. Harper & Kent Kunze, 1979. "The Slowdown in Productivity Growth: Analysis of Some Contributing factors," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 10(2), pages 387-422.
    3. Klaus Conrad & Catherine J. Morrison, 1985. "The Impact of Pollution Abatement Investment on Productivity Change: AnEmpirical Comparison of the U.S., Germany, and Canada," NBER Working Papers 1763, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Kim B. Clark, 1980. "The Impact of Unionization on Productivity: A Case Study," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 33(4), pages 451-469, July.
    5. Gray, Wayne B, 1987. "The Cost of Regulation: OSHA, EPA and the Productivity Slowdown," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 998-1006, December.
    6. Deily, Mary E. & Gray, Wayne B., 1991. "Enforcement of pollution regulations in a declining industry," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 260-274, November.
    7. Christainsen, Gregory B & Haveman, Robert H, 1981. "Public Regulations and the Slowdown in Productivity Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(2), pages 320-325, May.
    8. Gollop, Frank M & Roberts, Mark J, 1983. "Environmental Regulations and Productivity Growth: The Case of Fossil-Fueled Electric Power Generation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(4), pages 654-674, August.
    9. Viscusi, W Kip, 1983. "Frameworks for Analyzing the Effects of Risk and Environmental Regulations on Productivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(4), pages 793-801, September.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    CES; economic; research; micro; data; microdata; chief; economist;

    JEL classification:

    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • Q28 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Government Policy

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