IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/18392.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Effects of Environmental Regulation on the Competitiveness of U.S. Manufacturing

Author

Listed:
  • Michael Greenstone
  • John A. List
  • Chad Syverson

Abstract

The economic costs of environmental regulations have been widely debated since the U.S. began to restrict pollution emissions more than four decades ago. Using detailed production data from nearly 1.2 million plant observations drawn from the 1972-1993 Annual Survey of Manufactures, we estimate the effects of air quality regulations on manufacturing plants' total factor productivity (TFP) levels. We find that among surviving polluting plants, stricter air quality regulations are associated with a roughly 2.6 percent decline in TFP. The regulations governing ozone have particularly large negative effects on productivity, though effects are also evident among particulates and sulfur dioxide emitters. Carbon monoxide regulations, on the other hand, appear to increase measured TFP, especially among refineries. The application of corrections for the confounding of price increases and output declines and sample selection on survival produce a 4.8 percent estimated decline in TFP for polluting plants in regulated areas. This corresponds to an annual economic cost from the regulation of manufacturing plants of roughly $21 billion, about 8.8 percent of manufacturing sector profits in this period.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Greenstone & John A. List & Chad Syverson, 2012. "The Effects of Environmental Regulation on the Competitiveness of U.S. Manufacturing," NBER Working Papers 18392, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18392
    Note: EEE IO PR
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w18392.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Randy Becker & Vernon Henderson, 2000. "Effects of Air Quality Regulations on Polluting Industries," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(2), pages 379-421, April.
    2. Jacobson, Louis S & LaLonde, Robert J & Sullivan, Daniel G, 1993. "Earnings Losses of Displaced Workers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 685-709, September.
    3. John A. List & Daniel L. Millimet & Per G. Fredriksson & W. Warren McHone, 2003. "Effects of Environmental Regulations on Manufacturing Plant Births: Evidence from a Propensity Score Matching Estimator," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 944-952, November.
    4. W. Reed Walker, 2013. "The Transitional Costs of Sectoral Reallocation: Evidence From the Clean Air Act and the Workforce," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(4), pages 1787-1835.
    5. Chad Syverson, 2011. "What Determines Productivity?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(2), pages 326-365, June.
    6. Eli Berman & Linda T. M. Bui, 2001. "Environmental Regulation And Productivity: Evidence From Oil Refineries," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(3), pages 498-510, August.
    7. Gray, Wayne B. & Shadbegian, Ronald J., 2003. "Plant vintage, technology, and environmental regulation," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 384-402, November.
    8. Janet Currie & Matthew Neidell, 2005. "Air Pollution and Infant Health: What Can We Learn from California's Recent Experience?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 1003-1030.
    9. Erik Biørn & Rolf Golombek* & Arvid Raknerud, 1998. "Environmental Regulations and Plant Exit," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 11(1), pages 35-59, January.
    10. Kenneth Y. Chay & Michael Greenstone, 2003. "The Impact of Air Pollution on Infant Mortality: Evidence from Geographic Variation in Pollution Shocks Induced by a Recession," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1121-1167.
    11. Chad Syverson, 2004. "Market Structure and Productivity: A Concrete Example," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(6), pages 1181-1222, December.
    12. Michael Greenstone & Richard Hornbeck & Enrico Moretti, 2010. "Identifying Agglomeration Spillovers: Evidence from Winners and Losers of Large Plant Openings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(3), pages 536-598, June.
    13. Lucia Foster & John Haltiwanger & Chad Syverson, 2008. "Reallocation, Firm Turnover, and Efficiency: Selection on Productivity or Profitability?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 394-425, March.
    14. Marcus Asplund & Volker Nocke, 2003. "Firm Turnover in Imperfectly Competitive Markets," PIER Working Paper Archive 03-010, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
    15. Kenneth Y. Chay & Michael Greenstone, 2005. "Does Air Quality Matter? Evidence from the Housing Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(2), pages 376-424, April.
    16. Michael Greenstone & Justin Gallagher, 2008. "Does Hazardous Waste Matter? Evidence from the Housing Market and the Superfund Program," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(3), pages 951-1003.
    17. Mark Doms & Eric J. Bartelsman, 2000. "Understanding Productivity: Lessons from Longitudinal Microdata," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(3), pages 569-594, September.
    18. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1982. "Selection and the Evolution of Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 649-670, May.
    19. Holger Sieg & V. Kerry Smith & H. Spencer Banzhaf & Randy Walsh, 2004. "Estimating The General Equilibrium Benefits Of Large Changes In Spatially Delineated Public Goods," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(4), pages 1047-1077, November.
    20. Michael Greenstone, 2002. "The Impacts of Environmental Regulations on Industrial Activity: Evidence from the 1970 and 1977 Clean Air Act Amendments and the Census of Manufactures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(6), pages 1175-1219, December.
    21. Gray, Wayne B & Shadbegian, Ronald J, 1998. "Environmental Regulation, Investment Timing, and Technology Choice," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(2), pages 235-256, June.
    22. Greenstone, Michael, 2004. "Did the Clean Air Act cause the remarkable decline in sulfur dioxide concentrations?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 585-611, May.
    23. List John A. & Millimet Daniel L & McHone Warren, 2004. "The Unintended Disincentive in the Clean Air Act," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 3(2), pages 1-28, February.
    24. Marcus Asplund & Volker Nocke, 2006. "Firm Turnover in Imperfectly Competitive Markets -super-1," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(2), pages 295-327.
    25. Chad Syverson, 2004. "Product Substitutability and Productivity Dispersion," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(2), pages 534-550, May.
    26. Marc J. Melitz, 2003. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1695-1725, November.
    27. Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2010. "The Needs of the Army: Using Compulsory Relocation in the Military to Estimate the Effect of Air Pollutants on Children’s Health," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 45(3).
    28. Olivier Deschenes & Michael Greenstone & Joseph S. Shapiro, 2012. "Defensive Investments and the Demand for Air Quality: Evidence from the NOx Budget Program and Ozone Reductions," NBER Working Papers 18267, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    29. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
    30. 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.
    31. Tra, Constant I., 2010. "A discrete choice equilibrium approach to valuing large environmental changes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1-2), pages 183-196, February.
    32. Nadeau, Louis W., 1997. "EPA Effectiveness at Reducing the Duration of Plant-Level Noncompliance," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 54-78, September.
    33. Hopenhayn, Hugo A, 1992. "Entry, Exit, and Firm Dynamics in Long Run Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(5), pages 1127-1150, September.
    34. Chad Syverson, 2008. "Markets: Ready-Mixed Concrete," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(1), pages 217-234, Winter.
    35. Pashigian, B Peter, 1984. "The Effect of Environmental Regulation on Optimal Plant Size and Factor Shares," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(1), pages 1-28, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Florin Maican & Matilda Orth, 2017. "Productivity Dynamics and the Role of ‘Big-Box’ Entrants in Retailing," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(2), pages 397-438, June.
    2. Chad Syverson, 2011. "What Determines Productivity?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(2), pages 326-365, June.
    3. Tanaka, Shinsuke, 2015. "Environmental regulations on air pollution in China and their impact on infant mortality," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 90-103.
    4. Ross Levine & Chen Lin & Zigan Wang, 2018. "Pollution and Human Capital Migration: Evidence from Corporate Executives," NBER Working Papers 24389, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Eslava, Marcela & Haltiwanger, John & Kugler, Adriana & Kugler, Maurice, 2004. "The effects of structural reforms on productivity and profitability enhancing reallocation: evidence from Colombia," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 333-371, December.
    6. Dietrich Earnhart & Dylan G. Rassier, 2016. "“Effective regulatory stringency” and firms’ profitability: the effects of effluent limits and government monitoring," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 50(2), pages 111-145, October.
    7. Rene Söllner, 2010. "Product Diversification and Labor Productivity Dispersion in German Manufacturing Industries," Jena Economic Research Papers 2010-028, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    8. Kahn, Matthew E. & Walsh, Randall, 2015. "Cities and the Environment," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: Gilles Duranton & J. V. Henderson & William C. Strange (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 0, pages 405-465, Elsevier.
    9. Chad Syverson, 2004. "Market Structure and Productivity: A Concrete Example," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(6), pages 1181-1222, December.
    10. Matthew Backus, 2019. "Why is Productivity Correlated with Competition?," NBER Working Papers 25748, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Sascha Rexhäuser & Christian Rammer, 2014. "Environmental Innovations and Firm Profitability: Unmasking the Porter Hypothesis," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 57(1), pages 145-167, January.
    12. Marco Mariani & Elena Pirani & Elena Radicchi, 2013. "La sopravvivenza delle imprese negli anni della crisi: prime evidenze empiriche dalla Toscana," ECONOMIA E POLITICA INDUSTRIALE, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2013(1), pages 25-52.
    13. Chad Syverson, 2007. "Prices, Spatial Competition And Heterogeneous Producers: An Empirical Test," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(2), pages 197-222, June.
    14. Lucia Foster & Cheryl Grim & John Haltiwanger, 2016. "Reallocation in the Great Recession: Cleansing or Not?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(S1), pages 293-331.
    15. Becker, Randy A. & Pasurka, Carl & Shadbegian, Ronald J., 2013. "Do environmental regulations disproportionately affect small businesses? Evidence from the Pollution Abatement Costs and Expenditures survey," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 66(3), pages 523-538.
    16. Li, Shengyu, 2018. "A structural model of productivity, uncertain demand, and export dynamics," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 1-15.
    17. Rui Castro & Gian Luca Clementi & Yoonsoo Lee, 2015. "Cross Sectoral Variation in the Volatility of Plant Level Idiosyncratic Shocks," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(1), pages 1-29, March.
    18. Eslava, Marcela & Haltiwanger, John C. & Kugler, Adriana & Kugler, Maurice, 2009. "Trade Reforms and Market Selection: Evidence from Manufacturing Plants in Colombia," IZA Discussion Papers 4256, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    19. Robert Kulick, 2017. "Ready-to-Mix: Horizontal Mergers, Prices, and Productivity," Working Papers 17-38, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    20. Van Reenen, John, 2011. "Does competition raise productivity through improving management quality?," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 306-316, May.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D2 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations
    • K3 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law
    • L5 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy
    • L6 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18392. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.