Who Benefits from Hazardous Waste Cleanups? Evidence from the Housing Market
The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) manages cleanup of hazardous waste releases at over 3,500 sites across the US, which covers approximately 17.5% of all developed land in the country. This paper evaluates the national housing market impacts of cleanups performed under RCRA and estimates the program's impacts on neighborhood change. We find that cleanups near residential properties yield significant, yet localized, increases in home prices, and that impacts are concentrated in the lower deciles of the price distribution. Importantly, we find no evidence of sorting along socio-demographic dimensions in response to cleanup. Our findings suggest that cleanup benefits accrue to the residents who are the original “hosts” of pollution and could correct pre-existing disparities in exposure to land-based contamination.