Environmental and Resource Economics

, Volume 69, Issue 1, pp 23–74 | Cite as

The Effect of Emission Information on Housing Prices: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from the European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register

  • Kathrine von GraevenitzEmail author
  • Daniel Römer
  • Alexander Rohlf


In this paper, we study whether the release of pollutant emission information has an effect on housing prices. The event under study is the publication of the first wave of emission quantity data from the European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register in 2009. Our analysis is based on quarterly housing prices at the German postal code level for the years 2007–2011 and provides the first evidence from Europe on this research question. Estimating a differences-in-differences model and controlling for observable differences in land use, housing type distribution, tax revenues and other postal code area characteristics by means of propensity score matching, we find no significant effect of the release of emission information on the value of houses in affected postal code areas. This result survives a number of robustness checks designed to assess whether our findings are due to data aggregation issues or the actual treatment definition. This leads to the conclusion that on an aggregate level the 2009 publication of E-PRTR data did not have an immediate and noticeable effect on housing prices in Germany.


Emissions information E-PRTR Housing market Propensity score matching Quasi-experiment 



We gratefully acknowledge funding from the German Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) under research grant number 01UN1003. Any opinions expressed in the paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the BMBF. We would like to thank Linda Bui, Dietrich Earnhart, Timo Goeschl, Sabine Grimm, Stephen Kastoryano, Nicolai Kuminoff, Jaren Pope, Nicholas Sanders, Alexander Schürt, V. Kerry Smith, Andrea Weber, the audiences at the 2014 Atlantic Workshop on Energy and Environmental Economics, the 2013 AERE summer conference and the 2013 EAERE conference, as well as seminar participants at the Universities of Heidelberg and Mannheim for their valuable comments. We also thank the editor and two anonymous reviewers for their very constructive comments and suggestions.


  1. Abbott JK, Klaiber HA (2013) The value of water as an urban club good: a matching approach to community-provided lakes. J Environ Econ Manag 65(2):208–224CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Angrist JD, Pischke J-S (2009) Mostly harmless econometrics: an Empiricist’s companion. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  3. Banzhaf HS, Walsh RP (2008) Do people vote with their feet? An empirical test of environmental gentrification. Am Econ Rev 98(3):843–863CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bui LTM, Mayer CJ (2003) Regulation and capitalization of environmental amenities: evidence from the toxic release inventory in massachusetts. Rev Econ Stat 85(3):693–708CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chay Kenneth Y, Greenstone M (2005) Does air quality matter? Evidence from the housing market. J Polit Econ 113(2)Google Scholar
  6. Currie J, Davis L, Greenstone M, Walker R (2015) Environmental health risks and housing values: evidence from 1,600 toxic plant openings and closings. Am Econ Rev 105(2):678–709CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Davis L (2004) The effect of health risk on housing values: evidence from a cancer cluster. Am Econ Rev 94(5):1693–1704CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Davis L (2011) The effect of power plants on local housing prices and rents. Rev Econ Stat 93(4):1391–1402CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dehejia R, Wahba S (2002) Propensity score-matching methods for nonexperimental causal studies. Rev Econ Stat 84(1):151–161CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Entsorga (2004) Blick in die Zukunft. Issue: 06/21/2004Google Scholar
  11. Environmental Protection Agency (2013) The toxics release inventory in action: Media, government, business, community and academic uses of tri data.
  12. European Union (2006) Regulation (ec) no 166/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 January 2006 (Off J Eur Union).
  13. F+B. F+B-Wohn-Index Deutschland - Methodiksteckbrief, 2012. F+B GmbHGoogle Scholar
  14. Gamper-Rabindran S, Timmins C (2013) Does cleanup of hazardous waste sites raise housing values? J Environ Econ Manag 65(3):345–360CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Greenstone M, Gallagher J (2008) Does hazardous waste matter? Evidence from the housing market and the superfund program. Q J Econ 123(3):951–1003CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hamburger Abendblatt (2009) EU stellt Schadstoffquellen in Europa online. Issue: 11/10/2009:29, 2009. Axel SpringerGoogle Scholar
  17. Hanna BG (2007) House values, incomes, and industrial pollution. J Environ Econ Manag 54(1):100–112CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ho DE, Imai K, King G, Stuart EA (2007) Matching as nonparametric preprocessing for reducing model dependence in parametric causal inference. Polit Anal 15:199–236CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Huber M, Lechner M, Wunsch C (2013) The performance of estimators based on the propensity score. J Econ 175(1):1–21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kuminoff NV, Pope JC (2014) Do “capitalization effects” for public goods reveal the public’s willingnes to pay? Int Econ Rev 55(4):1227–1250CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Leuven E, Sianesi B (2003) PSMATCH2: Stata module to perform full Mahalanobis and propensity score matching, common support graphing, and covariate imbalance testing., current version: 4.0.11 (22.09.2014) edition
  22. Linden L, Rockoff JE (2008) Estimates of the impact of crime risk on property values from Megan’s laws. Am Econ Rev 98(3):1103–1127CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Lyon TP, Shimshack JP (2015) Environmental disclosure: evidence from Newsweek’s green companies rankings. Bus Soc 54(5):632–675CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Mastromonaco R (2015) Do environmental right-to-know laws affect markets? Capitalization of information in the toxic release inventory. J Environ Econ Manag 71:54–70CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Moretti E, Neidell M (2011) Pollution, health, and avoidance behavior: evidence from the ports of Los Angeles. J Hum Resour 46(1):154–175Google Scholar
  26. Muehlenbachs L, Spiller E, Timmins C (2015) The housing market impacts of shale gas development. Am Econ Rev 105(12):3633–3659CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Neidell M (2009) Information, avoidance behavior, and health: the effect of ozone on asthma hospitalizations. J Hum Resour 44(2):450–478Google Scholar
  28. Oberholzer-Gee F, Mitsunari M (2006) Information regulation: Do the victims of externalities pay attention? J Regul Econ 30:141–158CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Palmquist RB (2006) Handbook of environmental economics, vol 2, chapter 16: Property Value models. Elsevier North HollandGoogle Scholar
  30. Parmeter CF, Pope JC (2009) Quasi-experiments and hedonic property value methods. In: List JA, Price MK (eds) Written for the handbook on experimental economics and the environment. Edward Elgar Publishers, CheltenhamGoogle Scholar
  31. Pope JC (2008) Buyer information and the hedonic: the impact of a seller disclosure on the implicit price for airport noise. J Urban Econ 63(2):498–516CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Rosenbaum PR, Rubin DB (1985) Constructing a control group using multivariate matched sampling methods that incorporate the propensity score. Am Stat 39(1):33–38Google Scholar
  33. Sanders NJ (2014) The response to public information on environmental amenities: New evidence housing markets care about the toxics release inventory. Unpublished manuscript, 6 2014Google Scholar
  34. Schlenker W, Scorse J (2012) Does being a “top 10” worst polluter affect environmental releases? Evidence from the U.S. toxic release inventory. Unpublished manuscriptGoogle Scholar
  35. Sueddeutsche Z (2010) Datenbank der gefahren. Issue: 05/17/2010.
  36. Taylor LO, Phaneuf DJ, Liu X (2016) Disentangling the impacts of environmental contamination from locally undesirable land uses. J Urban Econ 93:85–98CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. TAZ (2009) Interessantes über Umweltsünder aus der Nachbarschaft - ab sofort kann im Internet jeder nachgucken, mit welchen Schadstoffen Unternehmen die Umwelt belasten. Issue: 06/06/2009:8, 2009. ContrapressGoogle Scholar
  38. Tiebout C (1956) A pure theory of local expenditures. J Polit Econ 64(5):416–424CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Zivin JG, Neidell M, Schlenker W (2011) Water quality violations and avoidance behavior. Am Econ Rev Papers Proc 101:448–453CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathrine von Graevenitz
    • 1
    Email author
  • Daniel Römer
    • 2
  • Alexander Rohlf
    • 3
  1. 1.Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW)MannheimGermany
  2. 2.Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW)MannheimGermany
  3. 3.University of MannheimMannheimGermany

Personalised recommendations