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Estimating the General Equilibrium Benefits of Large Policy Changes: The Clean Air Act Revisited

  • Holger Sieg
  • V. Kerry Smith
  • H. Spencer Banzhaf
  • Randy Walsh

This paper reports the first comprehensive approach for measuring the general equilibrium willingness to pay for large changes in air quality. It is based on a well defined locational equilibrium model. The approach allows estimation of households' indirect utility function and the underlying distribution of household types. With these estimates it is possible to compute a new locational equilibrium and the resulting housing prices in response to exogenous changes in air quality. This permits construction of welfare measures which properly take into consideration the adjustments of households in equilibrium to non-marginal changes in air quality. These types of measures are outside the scope of more traditional approaches. The empirical approach of this paper provides, for the first time, an internally consistent framework for estimation and applied general equilibrium welfare analysis. We compute the general equilibrium willingness to pay for the changes in air quality between 1990 and 1995. We implement our empirical framework using data from Southern California, an area which has experienced dramatic improvements in air quality during the past 20 years. Our findings are by and large supportive for our approach and suggest that accounting for general equilibrium effects in applied welfare can be especially important.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w7744.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7744.

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Date of creation: Jun 2000
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Publication status: published as Sieg, Holger, V. Kerry Smith, H. Spencer Banzhaf and Randy Walsh. "Estimating The General Equilibrium Benefits Of Large Changes In Spatially Delineated Public Goods," International Economic Review, 2004, v45(4,Nov), 1047-1077.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7744
Note: PE
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  1. Brookshire, David S, et al, 1982. "Valuing Public Goods: A Comparison of Survey and Hedonic Approaches," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(1), pages 165-77, March.
  2. Hazilla, Michael & Kopp, Raymond J, 1990. "Social Cost of Environmental Quality Regulations: A General Equilibrium Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(4), pages 853-73, August.
  3. Kenneth Y. Chay & Michael Greenstone, 1998. "Does Air Quality Matter? Evidence from the Housing Market," NBER Working Papers 6826, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Timothy J. Bartik, 2008. "Measuring the Benefits of Amenity Improvements in Hedonic Price Models," Book chapters authored by Upjohn Institute researchers, in: Richard E. Just & Darrell L. Hueth & Andrew Schmitz (ed.), Applied Welfare Economics, pages 643-654 W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  5. Smith, V Kerry & Huang, Ju-Chin, 1995. "Can Markets Value Air Quality? A Meta-analysis of Hedonic Property Value Models," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(1), pages 209-27, February.
  6. Carliner, Geoffrey, 1973. "Income Elasticity of Housing Demand," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 55(4), pages 528-32, November.
  7. Bockstael, N E & McConnell, K E, 1993. "Public Goods as Characteristics of Non-market Commodities," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 103(420), pages 1244-57, September.
  8. Smith, V. Kerry & Espinosa, J. Andrès, 1996. "Environmental and trade policies: some methodological lessons," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(01), pages 19-40, February.
  9. James M. Poterba, 1992. "Taxation and Housing: Old Questions, New Answers," NBER Working Papers 3963, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Beron, Kurt & Murdoch, James & Thayer, Mark, 2001. "The Benefits of Visibility Improvement: New Evidence from the Los Angeles Metropolitan Area," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 22(2-3), pages 319-37, March-May.
  11. Dennis Epple & Holger Sieg, 1999. "Estimating Equilibrium Models of Local Jurisdictions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(4), pages 645-681, August.
  12. Joskow, Paul L & Schmalensee, Richard & Bailey, Elizabeth M, 1998. "The Market for Sulfur Dioxide Emissions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 669-85, September.
  13. Dennis Epple & Thomas Romer & Holger Sieg, 1999. "The Tiebout Hypothesis and Majority Rule: An Empirical Analysis," NBER Working Papers 6977, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Sudip Chattopadhyay, 1999. "Estimating the Demand for Air Quality: New Evidence Based on the Chicago Housing Market," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 75(1), pages 22-38.
  15. Epple, Dennis & Romer, Thomas, 1991. "Mobility and Redistribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(4), pages 828-58, August.
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  17. 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..
  18. Polinsky, A Mitchell, 1977. "The Demand for Housing: A Study in Specification and Grouping," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(2), pages 447-61, March.
  19. Palmquist, Raymond B., 1988. "Welfare measurement for environmental improvements using the hedonic model: The case of nonparametric marginal prices," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 297-312, September.
  20. Yoshitsugu Kanemoto, 1985. "Hedonic Prices and the Benefits of Public Projects," Working Papers 617, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  21. Charles M. Tiebout, 1956. "A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64, pages 416.
  22. Starrett, David A, 1981. "Land Value Capitalization in Local Public Finance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(2), pages 306-27, April.
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