Who Benefits from Surface Water Pollution Programs?

39 Pages Posted: 27 Dec 2022

See all articles by Qianping Ren

Qianping Ren

University of California, Santa Cruz - Department of Economics

Jeremy West

University of California, Santa Cruz - Department of Economics

Date Written: December 16, 2022

Abstract

The Clean Water Act provides around 180 million dollars annually for nonpoint source pollution programs. We examine how state governments deploy these funds. We find that watersheds with wealthier and more white populations are less polluted but more likely to receive pollution project funding. Supporting analyses show that these disparities can be explained by spatial differences in local government capacity. Socioeconomically disadvantaged areas have fewer resources to compete for grants and constrained match funding for grant proposal requirements. Our findings suggest that a competitive application process is an inequitable way to determine environmental funding priorities and could amplify justice concerns.

Keywords: nonpoint source pollution, public finance, environmental justice

JEL Classification: D63, H72, Q53, Q56, R51

Suggested Citation

Ren, Qianping and West, Jeremy, Who Benefits from Surface Water Pollution Programs? (December 16, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4305396 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4305396

Qianping Ren

University of California, Santa Cruz - Department of Economics ( email )

Jeremy West (Contact Author)

University of California, Santa Cruz - Department of Economics ( email )

Santa Cruz, CA 95064
United States

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