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Working Paper: Quantifying the Distribution of Environmental Outcomes for Regulatory Environmental Justice Analysis

Paper Number: 2011-02

Document Date: 04/2011

Author(s): Kelly Maguire and Glenn Sheriff

Subject Area(s): Distributional Effects

JEL Classification: Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics: Index Numbers and Aggregation; Welfare Economics: Equity; Justice; Inequality; and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement; Environmental Economics: Pollution Control Adoption and Costs; Distributional Effects; Employment Effects

Keywords: environmental justice; regulatory impact analysis; distributional analysis; equity; inequality index

Abstract: Economists have long been interested in measuring distributional impacts of policy interventions. As environmental justice (EJ) emerged as an ethical issue in the 1970s, the academic literature has provided statistical analyses of the incidence and causes of various environmental outcomes as they relate to race, income and other demographic variables. In the context of regulatory impacts, however, there is a lack of consensus regarding what information is relevant for EJ analysis, and how best to present it. This paper helps frame the discussion by suggesting a set of questions fundamental to regulatory EJ analysis, reviewing past approaches to quantifying distributional equity, and discussing the potential for adapting existing tools to the regulatory context.

Published: Maguire, Kelly, and Glenn Sheriff. 2011. "Comparing distributions of environmental outcomes for regulatory environmental justice analysis," International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 8(5): 1707-1726.

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

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