UC Davis Agricultural and Resource Economics

Ed Rubin, University of Oregon

Power plants, air pollution, and regulatory rebound

Date and Location

Thursday, March 31, 2022, 4:10 PM - 5:30 PM
Online Meeting, Zoom


We test whether local governments allow more pollution when upwind sources of pollution shut down or are cleaned up. Such regulatory rebound complicates regulation---one region's clean up can allow downwind regions to increase pollution. To investigate this hypothesis, we first combine (1) state-of-the-art particle trajectory modeling, (2) machine learning, and (3) an econometric model of local air pollution exposure to quantify the relationship between sustained reductions in upwind power-plant emissions of pollution (PM2.5) precursors and downwind pollution levels. We then use this model to empirically test whether local regulators who face regulatory constraints permit more pollution when upwind pollution is reduced.

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