NAREA 2022 Annual Meeting

Rising Star Keynote Address

Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, University of Kentucky

Environmental Justice: Causes of Inequitable Pollution Exposure and the Role of Policy



The environmental justice literature has found that the poor and people of color are disproportionately exposed to pollution. This presentation discusses the research documenting correlations between pollution and demographics and the potential causes of these correlations from an economics perspective. It then draws from recent work to show how environmental policies may address or unintentionally exacerbate existing inequities. Understanding the sources of inequitable pollution burdens has implications for crafting effective policy going forward. 



Lala Ma (PhD, Duke) is an assistant professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Kentucky. Her primary research area lies in the field of environmental economics, where she combines economic modeling with data to estimate the value of environmental services as an input into policy. Her work can be broadly categorized into three areas: valuation as revealed through housing markets, valuation using direct impacts on health or environmental outcomes, and distributional and equity issues related to pollution exposure. 

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