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The Impact Of Air Pollution On Infant Mortality: Evidence From Geographic Variation In Pollution Shocks Induced By A Recession

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  • Kenneth Y. Chay
  • Michael Greenstone

Abstract

The 1981-1982 recession induced substantial variation across sites in air pollution reductions. This is used to estimate the impact of total suspended particulates (TSPs) on infant mortality. We find that a 1-percent reduction in TSPs results in a 0.35 percent decline in the infant mortality rate at the county level, implying that 2500 fewer infants died from 1980-1982 than would have in the absence of the TSPs reductions. Most of these effects are driven by fewer deaths occurring within one month of birth, suggesting that fetal exposure is a potential pathophysiologic mechanism. The analysis also reveals nonlinear effects of TSPs pollution and greater sensitivity of black infant mortality at the county level. Importantly, the estimates are stable across a variety of specifications. © 2001 the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by MIT Press in its journal The Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 118 (2003)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
Pages: 1121-1167

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:qjecon:v:118:y:2003:i:3:p:1121-1167

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Web page: http://mitpress.mit.edu/journals/

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  1. Kenneth Y. Chay & Michael Greenstone, 1998. "Does Air Quality Matter? Evidence from the Housing Market," NBER Working Papers 6826, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Phillip B. Levine & Amy B. Trainor & David J. Zimmerman, 1995. "The Effect of Medicaid Abortion Funding Restrictions on Abortions, Pregnancies, and Births," NBER Working Papers 5066, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Rosenzweig, Mark R. & Wolpin, Kenneth I., 1991. "Inequality at birth : The scope for policy intervention," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1-2), pages 205-228, October.
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  5. Joyce, Theodore J. & Grossman, Michael & Goldman, Fred, 1989. "An assessment of the benefits of air pollution control: The case of infant health," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 32-51, January.
  6. Evans, William N. & Ringel, Jeanne S., 1999. "Can higher cigarette taxes improve birth outcomes?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 135-154, April.
  7. Currie, Janet & Gruber, Jonathan, 1996. "Saving Babies: The Efficacy and Cost of Recent Changes in the Medicaid Eligibility of Pregnant Women," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(6), pages 1263-96, December.
  8. Chappie, Mike & Lave, Lester, 1982. "The health effects of air pollution: A reanalysis," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 346-376, November.
  9. Mendelsohn, Robert & Orcutt, Guy, 1979. "An empirical analysis of air pollution dose-response curves," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 85-106, June.
  10. Ettner, Susan L., 1996. "New evidence on the relationship between income and health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 67-85, February.
  11. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2000. "Are Recessions Good For Your Health?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(2), pages 617-650, May.
  12. Michael Grossman & Theodore J. Joyce, 1991. "Unobservables, Pregnancy Resolutions, and Birthweight Production Functions in New York City," NBER Working Papers 2746, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Levine, P.B. & Trainor, A.B. & Zimmerman, D.J., 1995. "The Effect of Medicaid Abortion Funding Restrictions on Abortions, Pregnancies, Birth," Papers 95-08, Wellesley College - Department of Economics.
  14. Hanratty, Maria J, 1996. "Canadian National Health Insurance and Infant Health," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 276-84, March.
  15. Lipfert, Frederick W., 1984. "Air pollution and mortality: Specification searches using SMSA-based data," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 208-243, September.
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