Do environmental markets cause environmental injustice? Evidence from California's carbon market

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Market-based environmental policies are widely adopted on the basis of allocative efficiency. However, there is growing concern that market-induced spatial reallocation of pollution could widen existing pollution concentration gaps between disadvantaged and other communities. We examine how this “environmental justice” (EJ) gap changed following the 2013 introduction of California's carbon market, the world's second largest and the most subjected to EJ critiques. We estimate that the program lowered GHG, PM2.5, PM10, and NOx emissions by 3–9% annually between 2012–2017 for sample industrial facilities regulated only by the carbon market. Using a pollution dispersal model to characterize resulting spatial changes in pollution concentrations, we find the program caused EJ gaps in PM2.5, PM10, and NOx from these facilities to narrow by 6–10% annually. We demonstrate that explicit modeling of pollution dispersal is critical for detecting these results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104786
JournalJournal of Public Economics
Volume217
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics

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