Amherst, MA 01003
Institutional Affiliation: University of Massachusetts Amherst
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|July 2019||US Water Pollution Regulation over the Last Half Century: Burning Waters to Crystal Springs?|
with Joseph S. Shapiro: w26077
In the half century since the founding of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, public and private U.S. sources have spent nearly $5 trillion ($2017) to provide clean rivers, lakes, and drinking water, or annual spending of 0.8 percent of U.S. GDP in most years. Yet over half of rivers and substantial shares of drinking water systems violate standards, and polls for decades have listed water pollution as Americans’ number one environmental concern. We assess the history, effectiveness, and efficiency of the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act, and obtain four main conclusions. First, water pollution has fallen since these laws, in part due to their interventions. Second, investments made under these laws could be more cost-effective. Third, most recent studies estimate benefits...
Published: David A. Keiser & Joseph S. Shapiro, 2019. "US Water Pollution Regulation over the Past Half Century: Burning Waters to Crystal Springs?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 33(4), pages 51-75, Fall. citation courtesy of
|January 2017||Consequences of the Clean Water Act and the Demand for Water Quality|
with Joseph S. Shapiro: w23070
Since the 1972 U.S. Clean Water Act, government and industry have invested over $1 trillion to abate water pollution, or $100 per person-year. Over half of U.S. stream and river miles, however, still violate pollution standards. We use the most comprehensive set of files ever compiled on water pollution and its determinants, including 50 million pollution readings from 240,000 monitoring sites and a network model of all U.S. rivers, to study water pollution's trends, causes, and welfare consequences. We have three main findings. First, water pollution concentrations have fallen substantially. Between 1972 and 2001, for example, the share of waters safe for fishing grew by 12 percentage points. Second, the Clean Water Act's grants to municipal wastewater treatment plants, which account for ...
Published: David A Keiser & Joseph S Shapiro, 2019. "Consequences of the Clean Water Act and the Demand for Water Quality*," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, vol 134(1), pages 349-396. citation courtesy of