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The Impacts of Environmental Regulations on Industrial Activity: Evidence from the 1970 & 1977 Clean Air Act Amendments and the Census of Manufactures

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  • Michael Greenstone

Abstract

This paper estimates the effects of environmental regulations on industrial activity. The analysis is conducted with the most comprehensive data available on both regulations from the Clean Air Act Amendments' division of counties into pollutant-specific nonattainment and attainment categories and manufacturing activity from the 1.75 million plant observations that comprise the 1967-87 Censuses of Manufactures. Emitters of the controlled pollutants are subject to greater regulatory oversight in nonattainment counties. I find that in the first 15 years after the Amendments became law (1972- 1987), nonattainment counties (relative to attainment ones) lost approximately 590,000 jobs, $37 billion in capital stock, and $75 billion (1987$) of output in pollution intensive industries. These estimates are derived from a statistical model for plant-level growth that controls for plant fixed effects, unrestricted industry shocks, and unrestricted county shocks. Importantly these findings are robust across many specifications, and the effects are apparent across a wide range of polluting industries. Although the decline in manufacturing activity was substantial in nonattainment counties, it was modest compared to the size of the entire manufacturing sector.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Greenstone, 2001. "The Impacts of Environmental Regulations on Industrial Activity: Evidence from the 1970 & 1977 Clean Air Act Amendments and the Census of Manufactures," NBER Working Papers 8484, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8484
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    Cited by:

    1. Levinson, Arik, 2003. "Environmental Regulatory Competition: A Status Report and Some New Evidence," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 56(1), pages 91-106, March.
    2. repec:wfo:wstudy:58131 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Baomin Dong & Jiong Gong & Xin Zhao, 2012. "FDI and environmental regulation: pollution haven or a race to the top?," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 41(2), pages 216-237, April.
    4. Giulio Cainelli & Massimiliano Mazzanti & Roberto Zoboli, 2011. "Environmentally oriented innovative strategies and firm performance in services. Micro-evidence from Italy," International Review of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 25(1), pages 61-85.
    5. Sahu, Santosh Kumar & Narayanan, K., 2013. "Exports and Participation in Clean Development Mechanism [CDM] in Technology Intensive Industries in India," MPRA Paper 50745, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Davide Antonioli & Massimiliano Mazzanti, 2009. "Techno-organisational strategies, environmental innovations and economic performances. Micro-evidence from an SME-based industrial district," Journal of Innovation Economics, De Boeck Université, vol. 0(1), pages 145-168.
    7. Francesco Crespi & Claudia Ghisetti & Francesco Quatraro, 2015. "Environmental and innovation policies for the evolution of green technologies: a survey and a test," Eurasian Business Review, Springer;Eurasia Business and Economics Society, vol. 5(2), pages 343-370, December.
    8. Neequaye, Nii Amon & Oladi, Reza, 2015. "Environment, growth, and FDI revisited," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 47-56.
    9. Matthew Cole & Robert Elliott & Joanne Lindley, 2009. "Dirty money: Is there a wage premium for working in a pollution intensive industry?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 39(2), pages 161-180, October.
    10. Francesco Crespi & Claudia Ghisetti & Francesco Quatraro, 2015. "Taxonomy of implemented policy instruments to foster the production of green technologies and improve environmental and economic performance," WWWforEurope Working Papers series 90, WWWforEurope.
    11. Arik Levinson and M. Scott Taylor, 2004. "Unmasking the Pollution Haven Hypothesis," Working Papers gueconwpa~04-04-04, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.

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