Seminar Kleinman Center Event

Energy Economics and Finance Seminar


Edson Severnini
Associate Professor of Economics and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University


Kleinman Center Classroom
Fisher Fine Arts Building, Room 306
Getting Here

Event Summary

The seminar series in Energy Economics & Finance (EEF) is jointly organized by Wharton’s Business Economics and Public Policy Department, the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy, and Wharton’s Business, Climate and Environment Lab. The scope of the seminar includes regulation and policy papers. The scope of the seminar also includes environmental and transportation issues, as long as there is a connection with energy. Sessions are biweekly on Mondays from 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Snacks, beer, and wine will be served after the seminar!

For Fall 2022, the seminar will be held in-person in the Kleinman Center Classroom (Fisher Fine Arts Building Room 306). We have a strong preference for in-person seminar attendance***, but if you are unable to make a certain session or are not based on Penn’s campus, please reach out to Dhivya Kaushik (email below) to get access to the Zoom link.

Find and add a Google Calendar version of the schedule on the BEPP seminar page.

To sign up for the seminar, please send your name, email, and affiliation to Dhivya Kaushik:


Edson Severnini

Associate Professor
Edson Severnini is an Associate Professor of Economics and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University (Heinz College), a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), and a Research Affiliate at the Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

Talk Title: Impacts of the Clean Air Act on the Power Sector from 1938-1994: Anticipation and Adaptation

Abstract: The passage of landmark government regulation is often the culmination of evolving social pressure and incremental policy change. During this process, firms may preemptively adjust behavior in anticipation of impending regulation, making it difficult to quantify the overall economic impact of the legislation. This study leverages a theoretical framework and newly digitized data on the operation of virtually every fossil-fuel power plant in the United States from 1938-1994 to examine the impacts of the 1970 Clean Air Act (CAA) on the power sector. We exploit the extended pre-regulation benchmark to account for anticipatory behavior by electric utilities in the years leading up to the Act’s passage, and the long post-regulation period to allow for reallocative effects of the CAA across plant vintages. We find that the CAA led to large and persistent decreases in output and productivity, but only for plants that opened before 1963. This timing aligns with the passage of the original 1963 CAA, which provided the federal government with limited authority to “control” air pollution, but primarily served as a signal of impending federal regulation. We provide empirical and historical evidence of anticipatory responses by utilities in the design and siting of plants that opened after 1963. Finally, we show that the aggregate productivity losses of the CAA borne by the power sector were substantially mitigated by the reallocation of output away from older less productive power plants.

Fall 2022 Seminar Schedule
  • 9/22: Edson Severnini, Carnegie Mellon University
  • 10/17: Sarah Armitage, Environmental Defense Fund
  • 10/31: Carolyn Fischer, The World Bank
  • 11/14: Beia Spiller, Resources for the Future
  • 11/28: Jackson Dorsey, Indiana University
  • 12/5: Meredith Fowlie, UC Berkeley