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Quantifying the Distribution of Environmental Outcomes for Regulatory Environmental Justice Analysis


  • Kelly B. Maguire
  • Glenn Sheriff


Economists have long been interested in measuring distributional impacts of policy interventions. As environmental justice (EJ) emerged as an ethical issue in the 1970s, the academic literature has provided statistical analyses of the incidence and causes of various environmental outcomes as they relate to race, income and other demographic variables. In the context of regulatory impacts, however, there is a lack of consensus regarding what information is relevant for EJ analysis, and how best to present it. This paper helps frame the discussion by suggesting a set of questions fundamental to regulatory EJ analysis, reviewing past approaches to quantifying distributional equity, and discussing the potential for adapting existing tools to the regulatory context.

Suggested Citation

  • Kelly B. Maguire & Glenn Sheriff, 2011. "Quantifying the Distribution of Environmental Outcomes for Regulatory Environmental Justice Analysis," NCEE Working Paper Series 201102, National Center for Environmental Economics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, revised Apr 2011.
  • Handle: RePEc:nev:wpaper:wp201102

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Owen O'Donnell & Eddy van Doorslaer & Adam Wagstaff & Magnus Lindelow, 2008. "Analyzing Health Equity Using Household Survey Data : A Guide to Techniques and Their Implementation," World Bank Publications - Books, The World Bank Group, number 6896, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Severin Borenstein & Lucas W. Davis, 2016. "The Distributional Effects of US Clean Energy Tax Credits," Tax Policy and the Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(1), pages 191-234.
    2. Edmund Penning-Rowsell & Joanna Pardoe, 2015. "The distributional consequences of future flood risk management in England and Wales," Environment and Planning C, , vol. 33(5), pages 1301-1321, October.
    3. Geltman, Elizabeth Glass & Gill, Gunwant & Jovanovic, Miriam, 2016. "Impact of Executive Order 13211 on environmental regulation: An empirical study," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 302-310.
    4. Jordi Teixidó-Figueras & Juan Duro, 2015. "International Ecological Footprint Inequality: A Methodological Review and Some Results," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 60(4), pages 607-631, April.
    5. Glenn Sheriff & Kelly B. Maguire, 2020. "Health Risk, Inequality Indexes, and Environmental Justice," Risk Analysis, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 40(12), pages 2661-2674, December.
    6. Erin T. Mansur & Glenn Sheriff, 2019. "Do Pollution Markets Harm Low Income and Minority Communities? Ranking Emissions Distributions Generated by California's RECLAIM Program," NBER Working Papers 25666, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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    More about this item


    environmental justice; regulatory impact analysis; distributional analysis; equity; inequality indes;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C43 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Index Numbers and Aggregation
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • Q52 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Pollution Control Adoption and Costs; Distributional Effects; Employment Effects

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