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Caution, Drivers! Children Present: Traffic, Pollution, and Infant Health

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  • Christopher R. Knittel
  • Douglas L. Miller
  • Nicholas J. Sanders

Abstract

Since the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 (CAAA), atmospheric concentration of local pollutants has fallen drastically. A natural question is whether further reductions will yield additional health benefits. We further this research by addressing two related research questions: (1) what is the impact of automobile driving (and especially congestion) on ambient air pollution levels, and (2) what is the impact of modern air pollution levels on infant health? Our setting is California (with a focus on the Central Valley and Southern California) in the years 2002-2007. Using an instrumental variables approach that exploits the relationship between traffic, ambient weather conditions, and various pollutants, our findings suggest that ambient pollution levels, specifically particulate matter, still have large impacts on weekly infant mortality rates. Our results also illustrate the importance of weather controls in measuring pollution’s impact on infant mortality.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17222.

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Date of creation: Jul 2011
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17222

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  1. Alan Barreca, 2009. "Climate Change, Humidity, and Mortality in the United States," Working Papers 0906, Tulane University, Department of Economics, revised Jul 2009.
  2. Janet Currie, 2011. "Inequality at Birth: Some Causes and Consequences," NBER Working Papers 16798, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Enrico Moretti & Matthew Neidell, 2009. "Pollution, Health, and Avoidance Behavior: Evidence from the Ports of Los Angeles," NBER Working Papers 14939, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Janet Currie & Johannes F. Schmieder, 2008. "Fetal Exposure to Toxic Releases and Infant Health," NBER Working Papers 14352, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Douglas Almond & Lena Edlund & Mårten Palme, 2009. "Chernobyl's Subclinical Legacy: Prenatal Exposure to Radioactive Fallout and School Outcomes in Sweden," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(4), pages 1729-1772, November.
  6. 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.
  7. Olivier Desch�nes & Michael Greenstone, 2007. "The Economic Impacts of Climate Change: Evidence from Agricultural Output and Random Fluctuations in Weather," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 354-385, March.
  8. Neidell, Matthew J., 2004. "Air pollution, health, and socio-economic status: the effect of outdoor air quality on childhood asthma," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(6), pages 1209-1236, November.
  9. 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.
  10. Olivier Deschênes & Michael Greenstone, 2007. "Climate Change, Mortality, and Adaptation: Evidence from Annual Fluctuations in Weather in the US," Working Papers 0707, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research.
  11. 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).
  12. Olivier Deschenes & Michael Greenstone & Jonathan Guryan, 2009. "Climate Change and Birth Weight," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 211-17, May.
  13. Graff Zivin, Joshua & Neidell, Matthew, 2009. "Days of haze: Environmental information disclosure and intertemporal avoidance behavior," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 119-128, September.
  14. Joshua Graff Zivin & Matthew Neidell & Wolfram Schlenker, 2011. "Water Quality Violations and Avoidance Behavior: Evidence from Bottled Water Consumption," NBER Working Papers 16695, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Reyes Jessica Wolpaw, 2007. "Environmental Policy as Social Policy? The Impact of Childhood Lead Exposure on Crime," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-43, October.
  16. Nicholas J. Sanders & Charles F. Stoecker, 2011. "Where Have All the Young Men Gone? Using Gender Ratios to Measure Fetal Death Rates," NBER Working Papers 17434, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. 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.
  18. Janet Currie & Reed Walker, 2011. "Traffic Congestion and Infant Health: Evidence from E-ZPass," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 65-90, January.
  19. Jessica Wolpaw Reyes, 2007. "Environmental Policy as Social Policy? The Impact of Childhood Lead Exposure on Crime," NBER Working Papers 13097, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Nicholas J. Sanders, 2011. "What Doesn't Kill you Makes you Weaker: Prenatal Pollution Exposure and Educational Outcomes," Discussion Papers 10-019, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  2. 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).
  3. Heutel, Garth & Ruhm, Christopher J., 2013. "Air Pollution and Procyclical Mortality," Working Papers 13-7, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Department of Economics.
  4. Janet Currie & Reed Walker, 2011. "Traffic Congestion and Infant Health: Evidence from E-ZPass," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 65-90, January.
  5. Hill, Elaine L., 2012. "Unconventional Natural Gas Development and Infant Health: Evidence from Pennsylvania," Working Papers 128815, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
  6. Jans, Jenny & Johansson, Per & Nilsson, Peter, 2014. "Economic Status, Air Quality, and Child Health: Evidence from Inversion Episodes," IZA Discussion Papers 7929, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Christopher R. Knittel, 2012. "Reducing Petroleum Consumption from Transportation," NBER Working Papers 17724, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Joshua Graff Zivin & Matthew Neidell, 2013. "Environment, Health, and Human Capital," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 51(3), pages 689-730, September.
  9. Ziebarth, Nicolas R. & Schmitt, Maike & Karlsson, Martin, 2013. "The Short-Term Population Health Effects of Weather and Pollution: Implications of Climate Change," IZA Discussion Papers 7875, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Nicholas J. Sanders & Charles F. Stoecker, 2011. "Where Have All the Young Men Gone? Using Gender Ratios to Measure Fetal Death Rates," NBER Working Papers 17434, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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