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The Distribution of Pollution in the United States: An Environmental Gini Approach

  • Millimet, Daniel L.

    (Southern Methodist University)

  • Slottje, Daniel

    (Southern Methodist University)

The concepts of an environmental Gini coefficient along with a measure of ''pollution elasticity'' are introduced and used to analyze the distribution of pollution across U.S. states from 1988 -- 1996. The special properties of the Gini coefficient allow one to decompose overall pollution inequality into several components based on pollution type and predict the effects on overall pollution inequality from stricter regulations on particular types of emissions. In addition, an environmental welfare function -- analogous to Sen's social welfare function -- is derived and used along with the extended Gini to analyze the impact of tighter environmental regulations on different types of emissions. Finally, Spearman correlations between per capita emissions and state attributes are used to assess whether states at the upper tail of the pollution distribution are randomly assigned. The emissions data is obtained from the U.S. EPA's Toxic Release Inventory (TRI).

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File URL: ftp://ftp1.economics.smu.edu/WorkingPapers/1999/millimet/gini.pdf
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Paper provided by Southern Methodist University, Department of Economics in its series Departmental Working Papers with number 002.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: 22 Sep 1999
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:smu:ecowpa:002
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, P.O. Box 750496, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX 75275-0496
Phone: 214-768-2715
Fax: 214-768-1821
Web page: http://www.smu.edu/economics

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  1. Harrison, David Jr. & Rubinfeld, Daniel L., 1978. "The distribution of benefits from improvements in urban air quality," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 5(4), pages 313-332, December.
  2. Lerman, Robert I. & Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1984. "A note on the calculation and interpretation of the Gini index," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 15(3-4), pages 363-368.
  3. Ostro, Bart D. & Eskeland, Gunnar S. & Feyzioglu, Tarhan & Sanchez, Jose Miguel, 1998. "Air pollution and health effects - a study of respiratory illness among children in Santiago, Chile," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1932, The World Bank.
  4. Brooks, Nancy & Sethi, Rajiv, 1997. "The Distribution of Pollution: Community Characteristics and Exposure to Air Toxics," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 233-250, February.
  5. Lerman, Robert I & Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1985. "Income Inequality Effects by Income," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(1), pages 151-56, February.
  6. Cropper, Maureen L. & Simon, Nathalie B. & Alberini, Anna & Sharma, P. K., 1997. "The health effects of air pollution in Delhi, India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1860, The World Bank.
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