IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/23882.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Distribution of Environmental Damages

Author

Listed:
  • Solomon Hsiang
  • Paulina Oliva
  • Reed Walker

Abstract

Most regulations designed to reduce environmental externalities impose costs on individuals and firms. An active body of research has explored how these costs are disproportionately born by different sectors of the economy and/or across different groups of individuals. However, much less is known about the distributional characteristics of the environmental benefits created by these policies, or conversely, the differences in environmental damages associated with existing environmental externalities. We review this burgeoning literature and develop a simple and general framework for focusing future empirical investigations. We apply our framework to findings related to the economic impact of air pollution, deforestation, and climate, highlighting important areas for future research. A recurring challenge to understanding the distributional effects of environmental damages is distinguishing between cases where (i) populations are exposed to different levels or changes in an environmental good, and (ii) where an incremental change in the environment may have very different implications for some populations. In the latter case, it is often difficult to empirically identify the underlying sources of heterogeneity in marginal damages, as damages may stem from either non-linear and/or heterogeneous damage functions. Nonetheless, understanding the determinants of heterogeneity in environmental benefits and damages is crucial for welfare analysis and policy design.

Suggested Citation

  • Solomon Hsiang & Paulina Oliva & Reed Walker, 2017. "The Distribution of Environmental Damages," NBER Working Papers 23882, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23882
    Note: DEV EEE HE PE
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w23882.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Jayachandran, Seema & Laat, Joost de & Lambin, Eric F. & Stanton, Charlotte, 2016. "Cash for Carbon: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Payments for Ecosystem Services to Reduce Deforestation," CEPR Discussion Papers 11349, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Joshua D. Angrist & Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2010. "The Credibility Revolution in Empirical Economics: How Better Research Design Is Taking the Con out of Econometrics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(2), pages 3-30, Spring.
    3. Eva Arceo & Rema Hanna & Paulina Oliva, 2016. "Does the Effect of Pollution on Infant Mortality Differ Between Developing and Developed Countries? Evidence from Mexico City," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 126(591), pages 257-280, March.
    4. Ranson, Matthew, 2014. "Crime, weather, and climate change," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 67(3), pages 274-302.
    5. Sarsons, Heather, 2015. "Rainfall and conflict: A cautionary tale," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 62-72.
    6. Solomon M. Hsiang & Daiju Narita, 2012. "Adaptation To Cyclone Risk: Evidence From The Global Cross-Section," Climate Change Economics (CCE), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 3(02), pages 1-28.
    7. James T. Hamilton, 1993. "Politics and Social Costs: Estimating the Impact of Collective Action on Hazardous Waste Facilities," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 24(1), pages 101-125, Spring.
    8. Brooks, Nancy & Sethi, Rajiv, 1997. "The Distribution of Pollution: Community Characteristics and Exposure to Air Toxics," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 233-250, February.
    9. Sharon Maccini & Dean Yang, 2009. "Under the Weather: Health, Schooling, and Economic Consequences of Early-Life Rainfall," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 1006-1026, June.
    10. Timothy J. Bartik, 2008. "Evaluating the Benefits of Non-marginal Reductions in Pollution Using Information on Defensive Expenditures," Book chapters authored by Upjohn Institute researchers, in: Joseph Herriges & Catherine L. Kling (ed.),Revealed Preference Approaches to Environmental Valuation, volume 0, pages 459-475, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
    11. Lara P Clark & Dylan B Millet & Julian D Marshall, 2014. "National Patterns in Environmental Injustice and Inequality: Outdoor NO2 Air Pollution in the United States," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 9(4), pages 1-8, April.
    12. Richard Hornbeck, 2012. "The Enduring Impact of the American Dust Bowl: Short- and Long-Run Adjustments to Environmental Catastrophe," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(4), pages 1477-1507, June.
    13. Don Fullerton, 2011. "Six Distributional Effects of Environmental Policy," Risk Analysis, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 31(6), pages 923-929, June.
    14. Janet Currie, 2011. "Inequality at Birth: Some Causes and Consequences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 1-22, May.
    15. 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.
    16. Joshua Graff Zivin & Matthew Neidell, 2014. "Temperature and the Allocation of Time: Implications for Climate Change," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(1), pages 1-26.
    17. Seema Jayachandran, 2009. "Air Quality and Early-Life Mortality: Evidence from Indonesia’s Wildfires," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(4).
    18. Parry, Ian W.H. & Sigman, Hilary & Walls, Margaret & Williams, Roberton C., III, 2005. "The Incidence of Pollution Control Policies," Discussion Papers 10651, Resources for the Future.
    19. Marc N. Conte & Matthew J. Kotchen, 2010. "Explaining The Price Of Voluntary Carbon Offsets," Climate Change Economics (CCE), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 1(02), pages 93-111.
    20. Richard Hornbeck & Pinar Keskin, 2014. "The Historically Evolving Impact of the Ogallala Aquifer: Agricultural Adaptation to Groundwater and Drought," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(1), pages 190-219, January.
    21. Udo Ebert, 2003. "Environmental Goods and the Distribution of Income," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 25(4), pages 435-459, August.
    22. Wolfram Schlenker & W. Michael Hanemann & Anthony C. Fisher, 2006. "The Impact of Global Warming on U.S. Agriculture: An Econometric Analysis of Optimal Growing Conditions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(1), pages 113-125, February.
    23. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2002. "Reversal of Fortune: Geography and Institutions in the Making of the Modern World Income Distribution," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1231-1294.
    24. Marshall Burke & Kyle Emerick, 2016. "Adaptation to Climate Change: Evidence from US Agriculture," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 8(3), pages 106-140, August.
    25. Janet Currie & Reed Walker, 2011. "Traffic Congestion and Infant Health: Evidence from E-ZPass," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 65-90, January.
    26. Garg, Teevrat, 2014. "Public Health Effects of Natural Resource Degradation: Evidence from Indonesia," 2014 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2014, Minneapolis, Minnesota 169822, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    27. Grossman, Michael, 1972. "On the Concept of Health Capital and the Demand for Health," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(2), pages 223-255, March-Apr.
    28. Michael J. Roberts & Wolfram Schlenker, 2011. "The Evolution of Heat Tolerance of Corn: Implications for Climate Change," NBER Chapters, in: The Economics of Climate Change: Adaptations Past and Present, pages 225-251, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    29. Jennifer M. Alix-Garcia & Katharine R. E. Sims & Patricia Yañez-Pagans, 2015. "Only One Tree from Each Seed? Environmental Effectiveness and Poverty Alleviation in Mexico's Payments for Ecosystem Services Program," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 7(4), pages 1-40, November.
    30. Alan Barreca & Karen Clay & Olivier Deschenes & Michael Greenstone & Joseph S. Shapiro, 2016. "Adapting to Climate Change: The Remarkable Decline in the US Temperature-Mortality Relationship over the Twentieth Century," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 124(1), pages 105-159.
    31. Jonathan Colmer, 2018. "Weather, Labor Reallocation and Industrial Production: Evidence from India," CEP Discussion Papers dp1544, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    32. Antonio Bento & Matthew Freedman & Corey Lang, 2015. "Who Benefits from Environmental Regulation? Evidence from the Clean Air Act Amendments," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 97(3), pages 610-622, July.
    33. Olivier Deschênes & Michael Greenstone, 2007. "The Economic Impacts of Climate Change: Evidence from Agricultural Output and Random Fluctuations in Weather," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 354-385, March.
    34. Baumol,William J. & Oates,Wallace E., 1988. "The Theory of Environmental Policy," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521322249, September.
    35. Maximilian Auffhammer & Solomon M. Hsiang & Wolfram Schlenker & Adam Sobel, 2013. "Using Weather Data and Climate Model Output in Economic Analyses of Climate Change," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 7(2), pages 181-198, July.
    36. Michael Greenstone & B. Kelsey Jack, 2013. "Envirodevonomics: A Research Agenda for a Young Field," NBER Working Papers 19426, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    37. Bengt Kristrom & Pere Riera, 1996. "Is the income elasticity of environmental improvements less than one?," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 7(1), pages 45-55, January.
    38. Kahn, Matthew E & Matsusaka, John G, 1997. "Demand for Environmental Goods: Evidence from Voting Patterns on California Initiatives," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 40(1), pages 137-173, April.
    39. Tatyana Deryugina & Solomon M. Hsiang, 2014. "Does the Environment Still Matter? Daily Temperature and Income in the United States," NBER Working Papers 20750, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    40. Flores, Nicholas E. & Carson, Richard T., 1997. "The Relationship between the Income Elasticities of Demand and Willingness to Pay," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 287-295, July.
    41. Klaus Desmet & Dávid Krisztián Nagy & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2015. "The Geography of Development: Evaluating Migration Restrictions and Coastal Flooding," NBER Working Papers 21087, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    42. H. Spencer Banzhaf & Randall P. Walsh, 2008. "Do People Vote with Their Feet? An Empirical Test of Tiebout," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 843-863, June.
    43. Lucas W. Davis, 2011. "The Effect of Power Plants on Local Housing Values and Rents," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(4), pages 1391-1402, November.
    44. Eric Chaney, 2013. "Revolt on the Nile: Economic Shocks, Religion, and Political Power," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 81(5), pages 2033-2053, September.
    45. Grainger, Corbett A., 2012. "The distributional effects of pollution regulations: Do renters fully pay for cleaner air?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(9-10), pages 840-852.
    46. Nick Obradovich, 2017. "Climate change may speed democratic turnover," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 140(2), pages 135-147, January.
    47. Harrison, David Jr. & Rubinfeld, Daniel L., 1978. "Hedonic housing prices and the demand for clean air," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 81-102, March.
    48. Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2006. "The World Distribution of Income: Falling Poverty and … Convergence, Period," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(2), pages 351-397.
    49. Francis Annan & Wolfram Schlenker, 2015. "Federal Crop Insurance and the Disincentive to Adapt to Extreme Heat," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(5), pages 262-266, May.
    50. Anthoff, David & Hepburn, Cameron & Tol, Richard S.J., 2009. "Equity weighting and the marginal damage costs of climate change," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(3), pages 836-849, January.
    51. Meredith Fowlie & Stephen P. Holland & Erin T. Mansur, 2012. "What Do Emissions Markets Deliver and to Whom? Evidence from Southern California's NOx Trading Program," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(2), pages 965-993, April.
    52. Kapur Mehta, Aasha & Shah, Amita, 2003. "Chronic Poverty in India: Incidence, Causes and Policies," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 491-511, March.
    53. Arnaud Costinot & Dave Donaldson & Cory Smith, 2016. "Evolving Comparative Advantage and the Impact of Climate Change in Agricultural Markets: Evidence from 1.7 Million Fields around the World," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 124(1), pages 205-248.
    54. Garg, Teevrat & Jagnani, Maulik & Taraz, Vis P., 2017. "Human Capital Costs of Climate Change: Evidence from Test Scores in India," 2017 Annual Meeting, July 30-August 1, Chicago, Illinois 258018, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    55. Rosen, Sherwin, 1974. "Hedonic Prices and Implicit Markets: Product Differentiation in Pure Competition," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(1), pages 34-55, Jan.-Feb..
    56. F. Daniel Hidalgo & Suresh Naidu & Simeon Nichter & Neal Richardson, 2010. "Economic Determinants of Land Invasions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(3), pages 505-523, August.
    57. Peter A. Diamond & Jerry A. Hausman, 1994. "Contingent Valuation: Is Some Number Better than No Number?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 45-64, Fall.
    58. Daniel McFadden, 1994. "Contingent Valuation and Social Choice," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 76(4), pages 689-708.
    59. Kenneth Y. Chay & Michael Greenstone, 2003. "Air Quality, Infant Mortality, and the Clean Air Act of 1970," Working Papers 0406, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research.
    60. Anin Aroonruengsawat & Maximilian Auffhammer, 2011. "Impacts of Climate Change on Residential Electricity Consumption: Evidence from Billing Data," NBER Chapters, in: The Economics of Climate Change: Adaptations Past and Present, pages 311-342, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    61. Nguyen Van, Phu & Azomahou, Theophile, 2007. "Nonlinearities and heterogeneity in environmental quality: An empirical analysis of deforestation," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 291-309, September.
    62. David M. G. Newbery & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1984. "Pareto Inferior Trade," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(1), pages 1-12.
    63. Matthew E. Kahn, 2005. "The Death Toll from Natural Disasters: The Role of Income, Geography, and Institutions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(2), pages 271-284, May.
    64. Grieg-Gran, Maryanne & Porras, Ina & Wunder, Sven, 2005. "How can market mechanisms for forest environmental services help the poor? Preliminary lessons from Latin America," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(9), pages 1511-1527, September.
    65. Sebastian Axbard, 2016. "Income Opportunities and Sea Piracy in Indonesia: Evidence from Satellite Data," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 8(2), pages 154-194, April.
    66. Hanemann, W Michael, 1991. "Willingness to Pay and Willingness to Accept: How Much Can They Differ?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(3), pages 635-647, June.
    67. Cropper, Maureen & Griffiths, Charles, 1994. "The Interaction of Population Growth and Environmental Quality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 250-254, May.
    68. Courant, Paul N. & Porter, Richard C., 1981. "Averting expenditure and the cost of pollution," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 321-329, December.
    69. Michael Greenstone & B. Kelsey Jack, 2015. "Envirodevonomics: A Research Agenda for an Emerging Field," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 53(1), pages 5-42, March.
    70. Antonio M. Bento, 2013. "Equity Impacts of Environmental Policy," Annual Review of Resource Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 5(1), pages 181-196, June.
    71. Brooks Depro & Christopher Timmins & Maggie O'Neil, 2015. "White Flight and Coming to the Nuisance: Can Residential Mobility Explain Environmental Injustice?," Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(3), pages 439-468.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Marshall Burke & Vincent Tanutama, 2019. "Climatic Constraints on Aggregate Economic Output," NBER Working Papers 25779, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Albuquerque Sant'Anna, André, 2018. "Not So Natural: Unequal Effects of Public Policies on the Occurrence of Disasters," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 152(C), pages 273-281.
    3. Sager, Lutz, 2019. "Income inequality and carbon consumption: Evidence from Environmental Engel curves," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(S1).
    4. Geruso, Michael & Spears, Dean, 2018. "Heat, Humidity, and Infant Mortality in the Developing World," IZA Discussion Papers 11717, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Jasper N. Meya, 0. "Environmental Inequality and Economic Valuation," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 0, pages 1-36.
    6. Drupp, Moritz A. & Meya, Jasper N. & Baumgärtner, Stefan & Quaas, Martin F., 2017. "Economic inequality and the value of nature," Economics Working Papers 2017-08, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Department of Economics.
    7. Jasper N. Meya, 2020. "Environmental Inequality and Economic Valuation," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 76(2), pages 235-270, July.
    8. Barbora Sedova & Matthias Kalkuhl & Robert Mendelsohn, 2020. "Distributional Impacts of Weather and Climate in Rural India," Economics of Disasters and Climate Change, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 5-44, April.
    9. Costa, Francisco J M & Forge, Fabien & Garred, Jason & Pessoa, João Paulo, 2020. "The Impact of Climate Change on Risk and Return in Indian Agriculture," SocArXiv yxzfu, Center for Open Science.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • 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

    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:23882. 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: http://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.