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Working Paper: A Change of PACE: Comparing the 1994 and 1999 Pollution Abatement Costs and Expenditures Surveys

Paper Number: 2004-08

Document Date: 06/2004

Author(s): Randy A. Becker and Ronald J. Shadbegian

Subject Area(s): Costs of Pollution Control

Keywords: pollution abatement; survey data; environmental costs; manufacturing

Abstract: Since 1973, the Pollution Abatement Costs and Expenditures (PACE) survey has been the principle source of information on U.S. industries’ capital expenditure and operating costs associated with pollution abatement efforts. The PACE survey was discontinued after 1994 and then revived in 1999 for one year – in a substantially different form than the preceding surveys however, making longitudinal analysis quite difficult. Conceptual differences include matters as fundamental as the scope and meaning of pollution abatement as well as the definition of operating costs. A number of other critical changes also exist, including ones of industrial coverage and sample selection. This paper is the first comprehensive effort to document the many changes in the PACE survey across these years and to provide a detailed guide for researchers and policymakers who wish to compare the 1994 and 1999 data. Overall, we find a 27% decline in environmental spending by the manufacturing sector between these two years, though there appears to be significant heterogeneity across industries. We discuss potential reasons for this dramatic decline, focusing mainly on issues of survey methodology and design. This paper should help inform current efforts to redevelop the PACE survey and re-establish it as a regular, annual survey.

Published: Becker, Randy A. and Ronald J. Shadbegian. 2005. "A Change of PACE:  Comparing the 1994 and 1999 Pollution Abatement Costs and Expenditures Surveys," Journal of Economic and Social Measurement 30(1): 63-95.

This paper is part of the Environmental Economics Working Paper Series.

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