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Do industries pollute more in poorer neighborhoods? Evidence from toxic releasing plants in Mexico

Author

Listed:
  • Lopamudra Chakraborti

    () (Division of Economics, CIDE)

  • Michael Margolis

    () (Division of Economics, CIDE)

  • José Jaime Sainz Santamaria

    () (Division of Economics, CIDE)

Abstract

This paper provides the first, direct evidence that poorer communities in Mexico are associated with higher toxics pollution releases. We utilize previously unused, self-reported, plant-level annual database (from 2004 to 2012) and socioeconomic characteristics of the nearby population from the 2000 Census. Our measure of "Prosperity" is linked ot both a lower probability of toxic discharges into water as well as lower levels of averange releases. In addition, we find that at the bottom quintile of the "Prosperity" distribution, the predicted probability that a plant discharges in the fouth quartile of the pollution distribution is somewhat higher (28%) than for the first quartile of pollution. This negative association is consistent with two related findings that also indicate environmental justice concerns. A one prosperity point increase results in plants cleaning up i.e. reducing their toxic releases by as much as 10%. This order of magnitude is valid irrespective of the initial pollution levels reported by plants. Second, it is also linked with a 0.1% reduction in the probability of inaccurate reporting. Lastly, some evidence is found on changes in socioeconomic status indicator linked to decline in pollution.

Suggested Citation

  • Lopamudra Chakraborti & Michael Margolis & José Jaime Sainz Santamaria, 2016. "Do industries pollute more in poorer neighborhoods? Evidence from toxic releasing plants in Mexico," Working papers DTE 597, CIDE, División de Economía.
  • Handle: RePEc:emc:wpaper:dte597
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    industrial pollution; local income and unemployment effects; informal regulation; environmental justice; community pressure; toxic releasis in Mexico;

    JEL classification:

    • Q52 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Pollution Control Adoption and Costs; Distributional Effects; Employment Effects

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