Estimating Indirect Benefits: Fracking, Coal and Air Pollution

51 Pages Posted: 6 Sep 2016

See all articles by Reid Johnsen

Reid Johnsen

University of California, Berkeley

Jacob S. LaRiviere

University of Tennessee, Chattanooga

Hendrik Wolff

University of Washington - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Abstract

This paper estimates indirect benefits of improved air quality induced by hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking". The recent increase in natural gas supply led to displacement of coal-fired electricity by cleaner natural gas-fired generation. Using detailed spatial panel data comprising the near universe of US power plants, we find that coal generation decreased by 28%. Further, fracking decreased local air pollution by an average of 4%. We show that benefits vary geographically; air pollution levels decreased by 35% in the most affected region. Back of the envelope calculations imply accumulated health benefits of roughly $17 billion annually.

Keywords: fracking, coal-fired power plants, air pollution, health, electricity

JEL Classification: Q41, Q53, I18

Suggested Citation

Johnsen, Reid and LaRiviere, Jacob S. and Wolff, Hendrik, Estimating Indirect Benefits: Fracking, Coal and Air Pollution. IZA Discussion Paper No. 10170. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2834220

Reid Johnsen (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley

310 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

Jacob S. LaRiviere

University of Tennessee, Chattanooga ( email )

Department of Philosophy & Religion (#2753)
Chattanooga, TN 37403-2598
United States

Hendrik Wolff

University of Washington - Department of Economics

Box 353330
Seattle, WA 98195-3330
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
127
Abstract Views
447
rank
225,331
PlumX Metrics