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The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy

Editor-in-Chief: Jürges, Hendrik / Ludwig, Sandra

Ed. by Auriol , Emmanuelle / Brunner, Johann / Fleck, Robert / Friebel, Guido / Requate, Till / Tsui, Kevin / Wichardt, Philipp / Zulehner, Christine

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

Ronald J Shadbegian1 / Wayne B Gray2

1University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth,

2Clark University,

Citation Information: Topics in Economic Analysis & Policy. Volume 3, Issue 1, ISSN (Online) 1538-0653, DOI: 10.2202/1538-0653.1144, November 2003

Publication History

Published Online:
2003-11-13

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 social 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.

Keywords: air pollution; pollution abatement costs; emissions; productivity

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