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Economic Status, Air Quality, and Child Health: Evidence from Inversion Episodes

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Author Info

  • Jans, Jenny

    ()
    (Uppsala University)

  • Johansson, Per

    ()
    (IFAU)

  • Nilsson, Peter

    ()
    (IIES, Stockholm University)

Abstract

On normal days, the temperature decreases with altitude, allowing air pollutants to rise and disperse. During inversion episodes, a warmer air layer at higher altitude traps pollutants close to the ground. We show how readily available NASA satellite data on vertical temperature profiles can be used to measure inversion episodes on a global scale with high spatial and temporal resolution. Then, we link inversion episode data to ground level pollution monitors and to daily in- and outpatient records for the universe of children in Sweden during a six-year period to provide instrumental variable estimates of the effects of air quality on children's health. The IV estimates show that the respiratory illness health care visit rate increases by 8 percent for each 10 μm/m³ increase in PM10; an estimate four times higher than conventional estimates. Importantly, by linking the health care data to detailed records of parental background characteristics, we show that children from low-income households suffer significantly more from air pollution than children from high income households. Finally, we provide evidence on the importance of several mechanisms that could contribute to the difference in the impact of air pollution across children in rich and poor households.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7929.

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Length: 52 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7929

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Related research

Keywords: instrumental variable; environmental policy; inversions; health; air pollution; nonparametric regression; socio-economic gradient in health;

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  11. Kenneth Y. Chay & Michael Greenstone, 2003. "The Impact Of Air Pollution On Infant Mortality: Evidence From Geographic Variation In Pollution Shocks Induced By A Recession," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1121-1167, August.
  12. Enrico Moretti & Matthew Neidell, 2011. "Pollution, Health, and Avoidance Behavior: Evidence from the Ports of Los Angeles," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 46(1), pages 154-175.
  13. Joshua Graff Zivin & Matthew Neidell, 2012. "The Impact of Pollution on Worker Productivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(7), pages 3652-73, December.
  14. Nicholas J. Sanders, 2012. "What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Weaker: Prenatal Pollution Exposure and Educational Outcomes," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 47(3), pages 826-850.
  15. Arceo, Eva & Hanna, Rema & Oliva, Paulina, 2012. "Does the Effect of Pollution on Infant Mortality Differ between Developing and Developed Countries? Evidence from Mexico City," Working Paper Series rwp12-050, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  16. Matthew Neidell, 2009. "Information, Avoidance Behavior, and Health: The Effect of Ozone on Asthma Hospitalizations," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(2).
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