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Environmental Economics Seminar: Who Loses Under Power Plant Cap-and-Trade Programs? Estimating the Impact of the NOx Budget Trading Program on Manufacturing Employment

Date and Time

Monday 04/04/2016 2:30PM to 4:00PM EDT
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Room 4128, William Jefferson Clinton West Building
1301 Constitution Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20001


Contact: Carl Pasurka, 202-566-2275

Presenter: Mark Curtis (Dept. Economics, Wake Forest Univ.)

Description: This paper tests how a major cap-and-trade program, known as the NOx Budget Trading Program (NBP), impacted labor markets in the regions where it was implemented. The cap-and-trade program dramatically decreased levels of NOx emissions and added substantial costs to regulated firms. Using a triple-differences approach that takes advantage of the geographic and time variation of the program as well as variation in industry energy-intensity levels, I examine how employment dynamics changed in manufacturing industries whose production process requires high levels of energy. After accounting for a variety of flexible state, county and industry trends, I find that employment in the manufacturing sector dropped by 1.3% as a result of the NBP. Young workers experienced the largest employment declines and earnings of newly hired workers fell after the regulation began. Employment declines are shown to have occurred primarily through decreased hiring rates rather than increased separation rates, thus mitigating the impact on incumbent workers.