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Looking Back at 50 Years of the Clean Air Act

Author

Listed:
  • Joseph E. Aldy
  • Maximilian Auffhammer
  • Maureen Cropper
  • Arthur Fraas
  • Richard Morgenstern

Abstract

We synthesize and review retrospective analyses of federal air quality regulations to examine the contributions of the Clean Air Act to the vast air quality improvements seen since 1970. Geographic heterogeneity in stringency affects emissions, public health, compliance costs, and employment. Cap-and-trade has delivered greater emission reductions at lower cost than conventional mandates, yet has fallen short of textbook ideals. Market power also influenced the CAA’s benefits and costs. New benefit categories have been identified ex post, but specific technology requirements have not yet been rigorously evaluated. Comparisons of aggregate benefits and costs of the CAA are beyond present capabilities.

Suggested Citation

  • Joseph E. Aldy & Maximilian Auffhammer & Maureen Cropper & Arthur Fraas & Richard Morgenstern, 2020. "Looking Back at 50 Years of the Clean Air Act," NBER Working Papers 26687, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:26687
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    JEL classification:

    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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