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Do EPA Regulations Affect Labor Demand? Evidence from the Pulp and Paper Industry

  • Ronald J. Shadbegian
  • Wayne B. Gray
  • Chumbei Wang
  • Merve Cebi

Many believe that environmental regulation must reduce employment, since regulations are expected to increase production costs, raising prices and reducing demand for output. A careful microeconomic analysis shows that this not guaranteed. Even if environmental regulation reduces output in the regulated industry, abating pollution could require additional labor (e.g. to monitor the abatement capital and meet EPA reporting requirements). Pollution abatement technologies could also be labor enhancing. In this paper we analyze how a particular EPA regulation, the “Cluster Rule” (CR) imposed on the pulp and paper industry in 2001, affected employment in that sector. Using establishment level data from the Census of Manufacturers and Annual Survey of Manufacturers at the U.S. Census Bureau from 1992-2007 we find evidence of small employment declines (on the order of 3%-7%), sometimes statistically significant, at a subset of the plants covered by the CR.

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Paper provided by National Center for Environmental Economics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in its series NCEE Working Paper Series with number 201303.

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Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2013
Date of revision: Aug 2013
Handle: RePEc:nev:wpaper:wp201303
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  1. Ronald Shadbegian & Wayne Gray, 2005. "Assessing Multi-Dimensional Performance: Environmental and Economic Outcomes," Working Papers 05-03, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  2. Karikallio, Hanna & Mäki-Fränti, Petri & Suhonen, Niko, 2011. "Competition in the global pulp and paper industries - An evaluation based on three approaches," Journal of Forest Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 91-104, January.
  3. Berman, Eli & Bui, Linda T. M., 2001. "Environmental regulation and labor demand: evidence from the South Coast Air Basin," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 265-295, February.
  4. Gray, Wayne B & Shadbegian, Ronald J, 1998. "Environmental Regulation, Investment Timing, and Technology Choice," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(2), pages 235-56, June.
  5. Shadbegian, Ronald J. & Gray, Wayne B., 2005. "Pollution abatement expenditures and plant-level productivity: A production function approach," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2-3), pages 196-208, August.
  6. Wayne B. Gray & Ronald J. Shadbegian, 2001. "Plant Vintage, Technology, and Environmental Regulation," NCEE Working Paper Series 200104, National Center for Environmental Economics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, revised Nov 2001.
  7. 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.
  8. Michael Greenstone, 2002. "The Impacts of Environmental Regulations on Industrial Activity: Evidence from the 1970 and 1977 Clean Air Act Amendments and the Census of Manufactures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(6), pages 1175-1219, December.
  9. Magat, Wesley A & Viscusi, W Kip, 1990. "Effectiveness of the EPA's Regulatory Enforcement: The Case of Industrial Effluent Standards," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(2), pages 331-60, October.
  10. Eli Berman & Linda T.M. Bui, 1998. "Environmental Regulation and Productivity: Evidence from Oil Refineries," Papers 0091, Boston University - Industry Studies Programme.
  11. Ron S Jarmin & Javier Miranda, 2002. "The Longitudinal Business Database," Working Papers 02-17, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  12. Boyd, Gale A. & McClelland, John D., 1999. "The Impact of Environmental Constraints on Productivity Improvement in Integrated Paper Plants," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 121-142, September.
  13. W. Reed Walker, 2011. "Environmental Regulation and Labor Reallocation: Evidence from the Clean Air Act," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 442-47, May.
  14. Morgenstern, Richard D. & Pizer, William A. & Shih, Jhih-Shyang, 2002. "Jobs Versus the Environment: An Industry-Level Perspective," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 412-436, May.
  15. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-In-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275.
  16. Laplante, Benoit & Rilstone, Paul, 1996. "Environmental Inspections and Emissions of the Pulp and Paper Industry in Quebec," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 19-36, July.
  17. Fare, R. & Grosskopf, S. & Pasurka, C., 1986. "Effects on relative efficiency in electric power generation due to environmental controls," Resources and Energy, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 167-184, June.
  18. Cole Matthew A & Elliott Rob J, 2007. "Do Environmental Regulations Cost Jobs? An Industry-Level Analysis of the UK," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-27, June.
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