The Beneficiaries of Clean Air Act Regulation
5 Pages Posted: 17 Apr 2001
We know that the "average" person has experienced a decrease in air pollution levels over the past two decades, but we do not know much about the distributional effects of regulation-induced reduction. Have the poor, as well as the wealthy, significantly reduced their exposure to pollutants? Are minorities paying the cost for these regulations as pollution-intensive industries cut their workforce or move away? In California between 1980 and 1998, Hispanic pollution exposure fell sharply and exposure differentials between richer and poorer people fell sharply. In 1998, only particulate matter exposure is much higher for the poor in comparison with the wealthy. Given the overall trend in improvements for certain demographic groups, it appears that regulation under the Clean Air Act has helped, and not economically harmed, the "have nots."
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