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Looking Back at Fifty Years of the Clean Air Act

Author

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

Abstract

Since 1970, transportation, power generation, and manufacturing have dramatically transformed as air pollutant emissions have fallen significantly. To evaluate the causal impacts of the Clean Air Act on these changes, we synthesize and review retrospective analyses of air quality regulations. The geographic heterogeneity in regulatory stringency common to many regulations has important implications for emissions, public health, compliance costs, and employment. Cap-and-trade programs have delivered greater emission reductions at lower cost than conventional regulatory mandates, but policy practice has fallen short of the cost-effective ideal. Implementing regulations in imperfectly competitive markets have also influenced the Clean Air Act’s benefits and costs.

Suggested Citation

  • Joseph E. Aldy & Maximilian Auffhammer & Maureen L. Cropper & Arthur G. Fraas & Richard Morgenstern, 2020. "Looking Back at Fifty Years of the Clean Air Act," NBER Working Papers 26687, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:26687
    Note: EEE
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    More about this item

    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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