Environmental Regulation and Productivity: Evidence from Oil Refineries
We examine the effect of air quality regulation on the productivity of some of the most heavily regulated manufacturing plants in the United States, the oil refineries of the Los Angeles (South Coast) Air Basin. We use direct measures of local air pollution regulation in this region to estimate their effects on abatement investment. Refineries not subject to these local environmental regulations are used as a comparison group. We study the period of increased regulation between 1979 and 1992. On average each regulation cost $3M per plant on compliance dates and a further $5M per plant on dates of increased stringency. We also construct measures of total factor productivity using plant level data which allow us to observe physical quantities of inputs and outputs for the entire population of refineries. Despite the high costs associated with the local regulations, productivity in the Los Angeles Air Basin refineries rose sharply during the 1987 - 1992 period, a period of decreased refinery productivity in other regions. We conclude that measures of the cost of environmental regulation may be significantly overstated. The gross costs may be far greater than the net cost, as abatement may be productive.
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|Date of creation:||Sep 1998|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Boston University, Industry Studies Program; Department of Economics, 270 Bay Road, Boston, Massachusetts 02215.|
Web page: http://www.bu.edu/econ/isp/
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- Eli Berman & Linda T. Bui, 1997.
"Environmental Regulation and Labor Demand: Evidence from the South Coast Air Basin,"
0082, Boston University - Industry Studies Programme.
- 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.
- Berman, E. & Bui, L.T., 1997. "Environmental Regulation and Labor demand: Evidence from the South Coast Air Basin," Papers 82, Boston University - Industry Studies Programme.
- Avinash K. Dixit & Robert S. Pindyck, 1994. "Investment under Uncertainty," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 5474, 01-2013.
- Roberts, Mark J. & Supina, Dylan, 1996. "Output price, markups, and producer size," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-5), pages 909-921, April.
- Barbera, Anthony J. & McConnell, Virginia D., 1990. "The impact of environmental regulations on industry productivity: Direct and indirect effects," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 50-65, January.
- Hahn, Robert W, 1989. "Economic Prescriptions for Environmental Problems: How the Patient Followed the Doctor's Orders," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 95-114, Spring.
- Christainsen, Gregory B. & Haveman, Robert H., 1981. "The contribution of environmental regulations to the slowdown in productivity growth," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 381-390, December.
- Dale W. Jorgenson & Peter J. Wilcoxen, 1990. "Environmental Regulation and U.S. Economic Growth," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(2), pages 314-340, Summer.
- 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 654-74, August.
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