Do Local Energy Prices and Regulation Affect the Geographic Concentration of Employment?
Matthew E. Kahn and Erin T. Mansur
Journal of Public Economics, forthcoming.
Working Paper, January 2013.
NBER Working Paper 16538, November 2010.
Manufacturing industries differ with respect to their energy intensity, labor-to-capital ratio and their pollution intensity. Across the United States, there is significant variation in electricity prices and labor and environmental regulation. This paper uses a regression discontinuity approach to examine whether the basic logic of comparative advantage can explain the geographical clustering of U.S. manufacturing. Using a unified empirical framework, we document that energy-intensive industries concentrate in low electricity price counties, labor-intensive industries avoid pro-union counties, and pollution-intensive industries locate in counties featuring relatively lax Clean Air Act regulation. We use our estimates to predict the likely jobs impacts of regional carbon mitigation efforts.