nep-res New Economics Papers
on Resource Economics
Issue of 2018‒12‒24
three papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
Universidad de la República

  1. Policy Evolution under the Clean Air Act By Richard Schmalensee; Robert N. Stavins
  2. Decompositions and Policy Consequences of an Extraordinary Decline in Air Pollution from Electricity Generation By Stephen P. Holland; Erin T. Mansur; Nicholas Muller; Andrew J. Yates
  3. Climate Change: The Ultimate Challenge for Economics By Nordhaus, William D.

  1. By: Richard Schmalensee; Robert N. Stavins
    Abstract: The U.S. Clean Air Act, passed in 1970 with strong bipartisan support, was the first environmental law to give the Federal government a serious regulatory role, established the architecture of the U.S. air pollution control system, and became a model for subsequent environmental laws in the United States and globally. We outline the Act’s key provisions, as well as the main changes Congress has made to it over time. We assess the evolution of air pollution control policy under the Clean Air Act, with particular attention to the types of policy instruments used. We provide a generic assessment of the major types of policy instruments, and we trace and assess the historical evolution of EPA’s policy instrument use, with particular focus on the increased use of market-based policy instruments, beginning in the 1970s and culminating in the 1990s. Over the past fifty years, air pollution regulation has gradually become much more complex, and over the past twenty years, policy debates have become increasingly partisan and polarized, to the point that it has become impossible to amend the Act or pass other legislation to address the new threat of climate change.
    JEL: Q28 Q40 Q48 Q54 Q58
    Date: 2018–11
  2. By: Stephen P. Holland; Erin T. Mansur; Nicholas Muller; Andrew J. Yates
    Abstract: We determine the change in air pollution damages from U.S. power plant emissions over 2010 to 2017. Annual damages fell from $245 billion to $133 billion over this period, with most of the decline occurring in the East. Decomposition shows that changes in emissions rates reduced damages by $63 billion, changes in generation shares reduced damages by $60 billion, and a reduction in fossil generation reduced damages by $25 billion. However, changes in damage valuations per ton of emissions increased damages by $35 billion. We estimate that marginal damages declined in the East from about 9¢ per kWh in 2010 to 6¢ in 2017. This decrease is slower than the decrease in total damages. Despite little or no change in total damages in the West and Texas, marginal damages increased. The environmental benefit of electric vehicles increased so that they are now cleaner than gasoline vehicles on average, though substantial heterogeneity remains. The environmental benefit of solar panels decreased in the East but increased elsewhere.
    JEL: D62 H23 Q53 Q54
    Date: 2018–12
  3. By: Nordhaus, William D. (Yale University)
    Abstract: William D. Nordhaus delivered his Prize Lecture on 8 December 2018 at the Aula Magna, Stockholm University.
    Keywords: long-term growth; climate change
    JEL: O00
    Date: 2018–12–08

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