Long-Run Environmental Accounting in the U.S. Economy
NBER Working Paper No. 25910
This paper estimates an augmented measure of national output inclusive of environmental pollution damage in the United States economy over a 60-year period. The paper reports two primary findings. First, air pollution intensity declined precipitously from the 1950s to the modern era. Air pollution damage comprised roughly 30 percent of output in the post WWII economy, declining to under 10 percent in 2016. Second, accounting for pollution damage significantly affects growth rates. Prior to the passage of the Clean Air Act in 1970, GDP outpaced Environmentally-Adjusted Value Added (EVA), defined as GDP less air pollution damage. Following passage of the Act, EVA grew more rapidly than GDP. Macroeconomic and environmental policies, as well as the business cycle, appreciably affect damages and EVA growth.
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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w25910
Published: Long-Run Environmental Accounting in the US Economy, Nicholas Z. Muller. in Environmental and Energy Policy and the Economy, volume 1, Kotchen, Stock, and Wolfram. 2020