Description: Job Market Talk: Wenran Fan
Contact: Otávio Bartalotti
Title: The Economic Impact of Microbeads Ban on Face Cleaners
Abstract: Microbeads, plastic additives used in personal care products with specific functions of exfoliating,
are a growing global concern especially in the ocean and Great Lakes. With the support of growing
scientific evidence, many countries passed laws to prohibit the manufacturing, packaging, and
distribution of rinse-off cosmetics containing plastic microbeads. Our paper provides the first
empirical assessment of the impacts of U.S. regulations on microbeads on the prices and sales
of face cleanser products. Leveraging the transaction level weekly Nielsen Retail Scanner data
of face cleanser product sales from 2013 to 2016, we employ a difference-in-differences design to
compare the sales of face cleanser products before and after the state bans relative to sales of our
control groups - face lotion products. We follow Goodman-Bacon (2018) to explore the differential
treatment effects resulting from variation in the enactment timing of the bans across the states.
Our results suggest that the microbeads bill introduction led to an increase in the sales of some
face cleanser products. We also find evidence of an increase in sales of face cleanser products after
bill enactment relative to sales of face lotion products.