Why is Pollution from U.S. Manufacturing Declining? The Roles of Environmental Regulation, Productivity, and Trade

68 Pages Posted: 27 Jan 2015

See all articles by Joseph S. Shapiro

Joseph S. Shapiro

University of California, Berkeley; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Reed Walker

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Date Written: January 2015

Abstract

Between 1990 and 2008, air pollution emissions from U.S. manufacturing fell by 60 percent despite a substantial increase in manufacturing output. We show that these emissions reductions are primarily driven by within-product changes in emissions intensity rather than changes in output or in the composition of products produced. We then develop and estimate a quantitative model linking trade with the environment to better understand the economic forces driving these changes. Our estimates suggest that the implicit pollution tax that manufacturers face doubled between 1990 and 2008. These changes in environmental regulation, rather than changes in productivity and trade, account for most of the emissions reductions.

Suggested Citation

Shapiro, Joseph S. and Walker, Reed, Why is Pollution from U.S. Manufacturing Declining? The Roles of Environmental Regulation, Productivity, and Trade (January 2015). NBER Working Paper No. w20879, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2555399

Joseph S. Shapiro (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley ( email )

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Reed Walker

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business ( email )

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Berkeley, CA 94720
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HOME PAGE: http://faculty.haas.berkeley.edu/rwalker/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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