New Economics Papers
on Resource Economics
Issue of 2010‒06‒11
three papers chosen by

  1. Location Decisions of U.S. Polluting Plants: Theory, Empirical Evidence, and Consequences By Ronald J. Shadbegian; Ann Wolverton
  2. Evaluating the Consumer Response to Fuel Economy: A Review of the Literature By Gloria Helfand; Ann Wolverton
  3. The Effects of an Environmental Policy on Consumers: Lessons from the Chinese Plastic Bag Regulation By He, Haoran

  1. By: Ronald J. Shadbegian; Ann Wolverton
    Abstract: Economists have long been interested in explaining the spatial distribution of economic activity, focusing on what factors motivate profit-maximizing firms when they choose to open a new plant or expand an existing facility. We begin our paper with a general discussion of the theory of plant location, including the role of taxes and agglomeration economies. However, our paper focuses on the theory, evidence, and implications of the role of environmental regulations in plant location decisions. On its face, environmental regulation would not necessarily be expected to alter location decisions, since we would expect Federal regulation to affect all locations in the United States essentially equally. It turns out, however, that this is not always the case as some geographic areas are subject to greater stringency. Another source of variation is differences across states in the way they implement and enforce compliance with Federal regulation. In light of these spatial differences in the costs of complying with environmental regulations, we discuss three main questions in this survey: Do environmental regulations affect the location decisions of polluting plants? Do states compete for polluting plants through differences in environmental regulation? And, do firms locate polluting plants disproportionately near poor and minority neighborhoods?
    Keywords: plant location decisions, environmental policy, inter-jurisdictional competition, environmental justice
    JEL: D21 H77 Q52 Q56
    Date: 2010–05
  2. By: Gloria Helfand; Ann Wolverton
    Abstract: In modeling how the U.S. market responds to changes in national fuel economy standards, the question of how consumers evaluate trade-offs between the cost of consuming more fuel economy than they would otherwise choose and the expected fuel savings that result is potentially quite important. Consumer vehicle choice models are a means to predict the change in vehicle purchase patterns, as well as the effects of these changes on compliance costs and consumer surplus. This paper surveys the literature on consumer choice models and finds a wide range in methods and results. A large puzzle raised is whether automakers build into their vehicles as much fuel economy as consumers are willing to purchase. This paper examines possible reasons why there may be a gap between the amount consumers are willing to pay for fuel economy and the amount that automakers provide.
    Keywords: consumer behavior, vehicle purchase decision
    Date: 2009–08
  3. By: He, Haoran (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)
    Abstract: To reduce plastic bag litter, China introduced a nationwide regulation requiring all retailers to charge for plastic shopping bags on June 1, 2008. By using the policy implementation as a natural experiment and collecting individual-level data before and after the implementation, we investigate the impacts of the regulation on consumers’ bag use. We find that the regulation implementation caused a 49% reduction in the use of new bags. Besides regulation enforcement, consumers’ attitude toward the regulation and some consumers’ socioeconomic characteristics also affected bag consumption. However, the regulation effects differ largely among consumer groups and among regions and shopping occasions.<p>
    Keywords: China; litter; market-based policy; natural experiment; plastic bag
    JEL: Q53 Q58
    Date: 2010–06–03

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