NBER Working Papers by Joseph S. Shapiro

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Working Papers

January 2015Why is Pollution from U.S. Manufacturing Declining? The Roles of Trade, Regulation, Productivity, and Preferences
with Reed Walker: w20879
Between 1990 and 2008, emissions of the most common air pollutants from U.S. manufacturing fell by 60 percent, even as real U.S. manufacturing output grew substantially. This paper develops a quantitative model to explain how changes in trade, environmental regulation, productivity, and consumer preferences have contributed to these reductions in pollution emissions. We estimate the model’s key parameters using administrative data on plant-level production and pollution decisions. We then combine these estimates with detailed historical data to provide a model-driven decomposition of the causes of the observed pollution changes. Finally, we compare the model-driven decomposition to a statistical decomposition. The model and data suggest three findings. First, the fall in pollution emission...
January 2013Adapting to Climate Change: The Remarkable Decline in the U.S. Temperature-Mortality Relationship over the 20th Century
with Alan Barreca, Karen Clay, Olivier Deschenes, Michael Greenstone: w18692
Adaptation is the only strategy that is guaranteed to be part of the world's climate strategy. Using the most comprehensive set of data files ever compiled on mortality and its determinants over the course of the 20th century, this paper makes two primary discoveries. First, we find that the mortality effect of an extremely hot day declined by about 80% between 1900-1959 and 1960-2004. As a consequence, days with temperatures exceeding 90°F were responsible for about 600 premature fatalities annually in the 1960-2004 period, compared to the approximately 3,600 premature fatalities that would have occurred if the temperature-mortality relationship from before 1960 still prevailed. Second, the adoption of residential air conditioning (AC) explains essentially the entire decline in the temper...
August 2012Defensive Investments and the Demand for Air Quality: Evidence from the NOx Budget Program and Ozone Reductions
with Olivier Deschenes, Michael Greenstone: w18267
Willingness to pay for air quality is a function of health and the costly defensive investments that contribute to health, but there is little research assessing the empirical importance of defensive investments. The setting for this paper is a large US emissions cap and trade market - the NOx Budget Trading Program (NBP) - that has greatly reduced NOx emissions since its initiation in 2003. Using rich quasi-experimental variation, we find that the reductions in NOx emissions decreased the number of summer days with high ozone levels by about 25%. The NBP also led to reductions in expenditures on prescription pharmaceutical expenditures of about 1.9%. Additionally, the summer mortality rate declined by approximately 0.5%, indicating that there were about 2,200 fewer premature deaths per su...

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