Michael Greenstone

This paper examines the effect of the CAAA’s on the pollution emissions of the iron and steel industry (SIC codes 331 and 332) into all media during 1987–1997. The CAAA’s divide U.S. counties into pollutant-specific nonattainment and attainment categories, based on ambient concentrations of the relevant pollutants. Emitters of the controlled pollutants in nonattainment counties are subject to substantially greater regulatory oversight than are emitters in attainment counties. The iron and steel industry is chosen for this case study because it is an important source of industrial emissions of the pollutants regulated by the CAAA’s. I find that the lead, particulate matter (PM), and ground level ozone (O3) nonattainment designations of the CAAA’s are associated with reductions in total emissions of these pollutants in the iron and steel industry. This decline in total releases is accomplished through approximately equal reductions in releases into the air and into all other media. Thus, I find little evidence that the CAAA’s increase releases into waterways and the ground. Although data on output are unavailable, there is suggestive evidence that emissions per unit of output declined.

Areas of Focus: Environment
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Environment
Producing and using energy damages people’s health and the environment. EPIC research is quantifying the social costs of energy choices and uncovering policies that help protect health while facilitating growth.
Air Pollution
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Air Pollution
Air pollution from fossil fuel combustion poses a grave threat to human health worldwide. EPIC research is using real-world data to calculate the effects of air pollution on human health...
Environmental Health
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Environmental Health
Energy and industrial processes introduce toxins into the environment. EPIC research is helping to educate policymakers and consumers on the social and economic costs of this pollution, and the potential...