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What Determines Environmental Performance at Paper Mills? The Roles of Abatement Spending, Regulation, and Efficiency

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  • Ronald J. Shadbegian
  • Wayne B. Gray

Abstract

This paper examines the determinants of environmental performance at paper mills, measured by air pollution emissions per unit of output. We consider differences across plants in air pollution abatement expenditures, local regulatory stringency, and productive efficiency. Emissions are significantly lower in plants with a larger air pollution abatement capital stock: a 10 percent increase in abatement capital stock appears to reduce emissions by 6.9 percent. This translates into a sizable social return: one dollar of abatement capital stock is estimated to provide an annual return of about 75 cents in pollution reduction benefits. Local regulatory stringency and productive efficiency also matter: plants in non-attainment counties have 43 percent lower emissions and plants with 10 percent higher productivity have 2.5 percent lower emissions. For pollution abatement operating costs we find (puzzlingly) positive, but always insignificant, coefficients

Suggested Citation

  • Ronald J. Shadbegian & Wayne B. Gray, 2003. "What Determines Environmental Performance at Paper Mills? The Roles of Abatement Spending, Regulation, and Efficiency," NCEE Working Paper Series 200303, National Center for Environmental Economics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, revised Apr 2003.
  • Handle: RePEc:nev:wpaper:wp200303
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    File URL: https://www.epa.gov/environmental-economics/working-paper-what-determines-environmental-performance-paper-mills-roles
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Becker, Randy A., 2005. "Air pollution abatement costs under the Clean Air Act: evidence from the PACE survey," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 144-169, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Martin, Ralf & Muûls, Mirabelle & de Preux, Laure B. & Wagner, Ulrich J., 2012. "Anatomy of a paradox: Management practices, organizational structure and energy efficiency," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 208-223.
    2. Ronald Shadbegian & Wayne Gray, 2006. "Assessing multi-dimensional performance: environmental and economic outcomes," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 26(3), pages 213-234, December.
    3. Gray, Wayne B. & Shadbegian, Ronald J. & Wang, Chunbei & Meral, Merve, 2014. "Do EPA regulations affect labor demand? Evidence from the pulp and paper industry," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 188-202.
    4. Li, Zhe, 2008. "Productivity Dispersion across Plants, Emission Abatement, and Environmental Policy," MPRA Paper 9564, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Gray, Wayne B. & Shadbegian, R.J.Ronald J., 2004. "'Optimal' pollution abatement--whose benefits matter, and how much?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 510-534, May.
    6. Wayne B. Gray & Ronald J. Shadbegian, 2007. "The Environmental Performance Of Polluting Plants: A Spatial Analysis," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(1), pages 63-84.
    7. Ann Ferris & Ronald J. Shadbegian & Ann Wolverton, 2014. "The Effect of Environmental Regulation on Employment: An Examination of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments and its Impact on the Electric Power Sector," NCEE Working Paper Series 201403, National Center for Environmental Economics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, revised Feb 2014.
    8. repec:kap:regeco:v:51:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11149-016-9314-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Stefanie Haller & Liam Murphy, 2012. "Corporate Expenditure on Environmental Protection," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, pages 277-296.
    10. Anouliès, Lisa, 2017. "Heterogeneous firms and the environment: a cap-and-trade program," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 84-101.
    11. Gray, Wayne B. & Shadbegian, Ronald J., 2015. "Multimedia Pollution Regulation and Environmental Performance: EPA’s Cluster Rule," Discussion Papers dp-15-26, Resources For the Future.
    12. Telle, Kjetil & Larsson, Jan, 2007. "Do environmental regulations hamper productivity growth? How accounting for improvements of plants' environmental performance can change the conclusion," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(2-3), pages 438-445, March.
    13. Blind, Knut, 2012. "The influence of regulations on innovation: A quantitative assessment for OECD countries," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 391-400.
    14. Fleishman, Rachel & Alexander, Rob & Bretschneider, Stuart & Popp, David, 2009. "Does regulation stimulate productivity? The effect of air quality policies on the efficiency of US power plants," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(11), pages 4574-4582, November.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Environmental Performance; Pollution Abatement Capital Stock; Air Pollution Emissions; Productive Efficiency;

    JEL classification:

    • Q25 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Water

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