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Environmental Regulations on Air Pollution in China and Their Impact on Infant Mortality

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  • Shinsuke Tanaka

    (Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University)

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    Abstract

    Developing countries rank highest in air pollution worldwide, yet regulations of such pollution are still rare in these countries, thereby whether, and to what extent, those regulations lead to health benefits remain an open question. Since 1995, the Chinese government has imposed stringent regulations on pollutant emissions from power plants, as one of the first regulatory attempts on a large scale in a developing country. Exploiting the variation in the regulatory status across time and space, we find that infant mortality fell by 21 percent in the treatment cities designated as the so-called gTwo Control Zones." The greatest reduction of mortality occurred during the neonatal period, highlighting the importance of fetal exposure as a biological mechanism, and was largest among the households with low mother's educational attainment. On the other hand, the regulations are found to be uncorrelated with deaths from causes unrelated to air pollution. When the regulatory status is used as an instrumental variable for air pollution reductions, we estimate that the impact of a unit change in total suspended particulates on infant mortality is of similar magnitude to that found in the U.S., but the elasticity is substantially higher in China, suggesting the greater benefits associated with regulations when pollution is already quite high.

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    File URL: http://ir.lib.hiroshima-u.ac.jp/metadb/up/ZZT00001/IDEC-DP2_02-11.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2012
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Hiroshima University, Graduate School for International Development and Cooperation (IDEC) in its series IDEC DP2 Series with number 2-11.

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    Length: 59 pages
    Date of creation: Jun 2012
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:hir:idecdp:2-11

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    Web page: http://www.hiroshima-u.ac.jp/en/idec/
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    Keywords: Environmental regulation; infant mortality; air quality; China;

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    1. Janet Currie & Matthew J. Neidell & Johannes Schmieder, 2008. "Air Pollution and Infant Health: Lessons from New Jersey," NBER Working Papers 14196, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Seema Jayachandran, 2008. "Air Quality and Early-Life Mortality: Evidence from Indonesia's Wildfires," NBER Working Papers 14011, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Eskeland, Gunnar S. & Harrison, Ann E., 2003. "Moving to greener pastures? Multinationals and the pollution haven hypothesis," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 1-23, February.
    4. Nancy Qian, 2008. "Missing Women and the Price of Tea in China: The Effect of Sex-Specific Earnings on Sex Imbalance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(3), pages 1251-1285, August.
    5. Randy A Becker & Vernon Henderson, 1999. "Costs of Air Quality Regulation," Working Papers 99-9, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
      • Randy A. Becker & J. Vernon Henderson, 2001. "Costs of Air Quality Regulation," NBER Chapters, in: Behavioral and Distributional Effects of Environmental Policy, pages 159-186 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Douglas Almond & Yuyu Chen & Michael Greenstone & Hongbin Li, 2009. "Winter Heating or Clean Air? Unintended Impacts of China's Huai River Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 184-90, May.
    7. 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.
    8. Case, Anne & Fertig, Angela & Paxson, Christina, 2005. "The lasting impact of childhood health and circumstance," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 365-389, March.
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    Cited by:
    1. Cesur, Resul & Tekin, Erdal & Ulker, Aydogan, 2013. "Air Pollution and Infant Mortality: Evidence from the Expansion of Natural Gas Infrastructure," IZA Discussion Papers 7179, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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