Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Supply of and Demand for Environmental Regulation

by Levi Russell

I have a project in mind that I thought I'd share here and hopefully get some feedback. On previous posts (here and here) I've discussed some supply factors of environmental regulation. I think there's a lot more that can be done to find measures of factors affecting the supply of and demand for environmental regulation that I think would make a good public choice type paper.

There's already a lot of literature out there on supply and demand of regulation. The foundational theoretical papers by George Stigler, Gary Becker, Sam Peltzman, Fred McChesney, and Richard Posner are obvious starting points for a project like this. Some empirical/historical papers can be found here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. The last one is a lighter read.

I'm interested specifically in environmental regulation. I'm interested in it as an ag economist but also as a student of regulation in general. Environmental regulation makes up a significant portion of all regulation in the US and has for a coupe of decades.

Demand factors I have in mind include the number of species on the endangered species list, dollars spent on lobbying efforts by environmental groups on key environmental legislation, and results of surveys of public opinion on environmental problems.

Supply factors include indices of legislator support for environmental causes, majority parties in congress and the executive branch, legislation published by environmental groups, and measures of legislator ideology.

I’ll probably use data from the Mercatus Center’s RegData on Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations which contains most of the EPA's regulatory text. I want to look at environmental regulation in general, but also focus on specific industries such as agriculture, airlines, mining and fossil fuel extraction, manufacturing, construction, and transportation.

Any thoughts you have are greatly appreciated!

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