ANALYSIS OF THE DISTRIBUTION OF RESEARCH REPORTS PREPARED UNDER THE EPA ECONOMIC RESEARCH PROGRAM BY SUBJECT AND PERIOD, 1971-1989 by Alan Carlin
As explained in Appendix 1, History of Economic Research at the EPA, the EPA economic research program can usefully be broken down into five historical periods based on events internal to EPA that significantly changed the nature of the program. This analysis concerns the subject distribution of reports prepared under the program during the first three of these five historical periods. Period 1 is from 1971 to 1975; period 2 is from 1976 to 1983, and period 3 is from 1983 to 1989. The analysis concerns only the subjects of reports that can be fairly definitely be identified as belonging to one of these periods and as being carried out under the auspices of the research program. The analysis is based on the subject field of reports contained in the Environmental Economics Report Inventory (EERI) on the National Center for Environmental Economics Website. The results are shown in the last six columns of Table 1 below, which show the number of reports analyzed in each period containing each subject and the percentage of reports on each subject in the reports analyzed for each period.
It is important to understand a number of limitations of the analysis resulting from the basic data used in it. The reports analyzed here are only a subset of the reports contained in EERI since reports that appear to have been funded after 1989 or not under the economic research program are not included. Only research reports have been included. Reports on workshops and papers have not been included. A number of reports have no date, so where there exists some basis for doing so I have assigned them to the period where they were most likely funded. The subject categories are the same as those used in EERI, so have the same limitations that the EERI categories have. They are based on a four-level hierarchy of categories containing many subcategories. It should be noted that in the case of some very broad reports EERI lists only the very broad categories covered rather than the detailed ones, so there is some undercounting of some of the more detailed categories. EERI is not complete since only those reports for which copies have been located have been included. The categories were developed independently of this analysis for the purpose of aiding users of EERI in locating reports of interest, and should be broadly representative of the reports during the period to which they have been assigned even though some of the reports prepared during each period are not included, mainly because the Inventory is incomplete. Some judgment had to be exercised as to the periods to which the reports were assigned since the records only show at most the date of the report and not the date of funding. The periods, however, are based on the date of funding, not the date of the resulting reports. So in a number of cases I have made educated guesses as to the period in which they were funded.
The analysis confirms that the major change was between the first and the second periods, when the program was greatly narrowed from a very broad menu of economic research to a much narrower one centered on the economic benefits of environmental pollution control. Although there was some further emphasis on benefits in the third period, after the first Executive Order requiring benefit-cost analysis of major regulations, the major change was between the first and second periods. Most of the increase in benefits research between the second and the third periods were in revealed preference and the new area of stated preference research.