Gone with the Wind: Federalism and the Strategic Placement of Air Polluters
40 Pages Posted: 26 Dec 2015
Date Written: September 29, 2015
In federal systems both state governments and firms have incentives to strategically locate polluting facilities where the environmental and health consequences will be borne as much as possible by residents of other jurisdictions. We analyze air polluter location in the United States using a spatial point pattern model, which models where events occur in latitude and longitude. Our analyses indicate that major air polluters are significantly more likely to be located near a state’s downwind border than a control group of other industrial facilities, results that are robust to a wide variety of model specifications and measurement strategies. This effect is particularly pronounced for facilities with toxic air emissions. The observed pattern of polluter location varies systematically across states and time in ways that suggest it is responsive to public policy at both the national and state levels.
Keywords: air pollution, federalism, free riding, spillovers
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