Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Economics and Finance

Committee Chair(s)

William F. Shughart II


William F. Shughart II


Briggs Depew


Ryan Bosworth


Renewable portfolio standards (RPS) are one of the most common state policies meant to encourage clean energy use. They require that utilities purchase electricity from certain qualifying electricity generators, usually with no reference to the cost of that electricity. AlthoughRPS are meant to clean up electricity generation through using clean energy sources instead of fossil fuels, they may not do so effectively. Further, some energy companies may lobby state legislators to include their energy sources regardless of their actual environmental benefit. The actual relationship between enacting an RPS and a state’s emissions from energy production is unclear. I explore RPS associations with carbon emissions. I collect data from 1960 to 2017 on factors related to environmental quality, energy production, and state economic factors. The data availability varies, however, so the most expansive variables are from 1960 to 2017 while many others fall into a shorter timeframe.The dataset relies heavily on the State Energy Data System (SEDS) that the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) maintains, but also draws from a variety of other academic sources. Other variables, such as the dates of electricity market restructuring, I collect myself from primary sources.After accounting for existing linear trends in the data there appears to be no statistically significant relationship with RPS and carbon emissions.



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