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Air Pollution and Infant Health: Lessons from New Jersey

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  • Janet Currie
  • Matthew J. Neidell
  • Johannes Schmieder

Abstract

We examine the impact of three "criteria" air pollutants on infant health in New Jersey in the 1990s by combining information about mother's residential location from birth certificates with information from air quality monitors. In addition to large sample size, our work offers three important innovations: First, because we know the exact addresses of mothers, we select those mothers closest to air monitors to ensure a more accurate measure of air quality. Second, since we follow mothers over time, we control for unobserved characteristics of mothers using maternal fixed effects. Third, we examine interactions of air pollution with smoking and other predictors of poor infant health outcomes. We find consistently negative effects of exposure to pollution, especially carbon monoxide, both during and after birth. The effects are considerably larger for smokers than for nonsmokers as well as for older mothers. Since automobiles are the main source of carbon monoxide emissions, our results have important implications for regulation of automobile emissions.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14196.

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Date of creation: Jul 2008
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Publication status: published as Currie, Janet & Neidell, Matthew & Schmieder, Johannes F., 2009. "Air pollution and infant health: Lessons from New Jersey," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 688-703, May.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14196

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  1. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell Salvanes, 2005. "From the Cradle to the Labor Market? The Effect of Birth Weight on Adult Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 11796, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Douglas Almond & Kenneth Y. Chay & David S. Lee, 2005. "The Costs of Low Birth Weight," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 120(3), pages 1031-1083, August.
  3. 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, MIT Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1121-1167, August.
  4. Kenneth Y. Chay & Michael Greenstone, 2003. "Air Quality, Infant Mortality, and the Clean Air Act of 1970," NBER Working Papers 10053, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Janet Currie, 2009. "Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise: Socioeconomic Status, Poor Health in Childhood, and Human Capital Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(1), pages 87-122, March.
  6. Janet Currie & Matthew Neidell, 2005. "Air Pollution and Infant Health: What Can We Learn from California's Recent Experience?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 120(3), pages 1003-1030, August.
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