Do Community Characteristics Influence Environmental Outcomes?: Evidence from the Toxics Release Inventory
Journal of Applied Economics, Vol. 1, pp. 413-453, November 1998
Posted: 18 May 2004
This research uses neighborhood characteristics (at the zipcode level) in 1990 to explain toxic releases in 1993. It combines the Toxics Release Inventory data with demographic data from the 1990 US Census. We first analyze the location of manufacturing facilities in a particular neighborhood using a sample selection model, and then estimate the relationship between releases in 1993 and the demographic characteristics of the neighborhood in 1990. We conduct the analysis for the entire US as well as for different geographic regions to study regional differences in determinants of environmental outcomes. Releases in non-urban areas of the southeastern US exhibit a pattern suggesting that race might be an important determinant of release patterns. Economic characteristics of neighborhoods (such as income levels and unemployment) also affect releases. Our variables that proxy the propensity for communities to engage in political action exert greater influence on environmental outcomes in non-urban areas.
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