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Environmental Justice and Green-Technology Adoption


  • Paul Ong


This paper presents an analysis of an environmental justice (EJ) program adopted by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) as a part of its regulation to phase out a toxic chemical used by dry cleaners. SCAQMD provided financial incentives to switch early and gave establishments in EJ neighborhoods priority in applying for grants. Despite this pro-EJ policy, available data show that dry cleaners in low-income, predominantly minority, and EJ-designated areas were less likely to be an early adopter of green technologies, and this finding holds even after accounting for firm and market characteristics. Dry cleaners in disadvantaged neighborhoods were also less likely to receive a grant to switch technology despite the district's effort to set aside half of the funding for applicants from EJ areas.