Does regulation stimulate productivity? The effect of air quality policies on the efficiency of US power plants

Abstract:

 This research examines the effect of air quality regulations on the productivity of US power plants based on both economic and environmental outputs. Using data envelopment analysis (DEA) to estimate an efficiency measure incorporating both economic and environmental outcomes, we look at changes in efficiency in US power plants over an eleven-year time period (1994–2004) during which several different regulations were implemented for the control of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur dioxide (SO2). The paper then models how estimated efficiency behaves over time as a function of regulatory changes. Findings suggest mixed effects of regulations on power plant efficiency when pollution abatement and electricity generation are both included as outputs.

Fleishman, R., Alexander, R., Bretschneider, S., & Popp, D. (2009). Does regulation stimulate productivity? the effect of air quality policies on the efficiency of US power plants. Energy Policy, 37(11), 4574-4582. doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2009.06.012