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Adaptation to Environmental Change: Agriculture and the Unexpected Incidence of the Acid Rain Program

Nicholas Sanders () and Alan Barreca ()

No 28591, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

Abstract: The Acid Rain Program (ARP) cut sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions from power plants in the United States, with considerable benefits. We show this also reduced ambient sulfate levels, which lowered agriculture productivity through decreased soil sulfur. Using plant-level SO2 emissions and an atmospheric transport model, we estimate the relationship between airborne sulfate levels and yields for corn and soybean. We estimate crop revenue losses for these two crops around $1-1.5 billion per year, with accompanying decreases in land value. Back of the envelope calculations of the costs to replace lost sulfur suggest producer responses were limited and suboptimal.

JEL-codes: Q15 Q53 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021-03
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-agr and nep-env
Note: EEE PE
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