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Environmental Health Risks and Housing Values: Evidence from 1,600 Toxic Plant Openings and Closings

Author

Listed:
  • Janet Currie
  • Lucas Davis
  • Michael Greenstone
  • Reed Walker

Abstract

Regulatory oversight of toxic emissions from industrial plants and understanding about these emissions' impacts are in their infancy. Applying a research design based on the openings and closings of 1,600 industrial plants to rich data on housing markets and infant health, we find that: toxic air emissions affect air quality only within 1 mile of the plant; plant openings lead to 11 percent declines in housing values within 0.5 mile or a loss of about $4.25 million for these households; and a plant's operation is associated with a roughly 3 percent increase in the probability of low birthweight within 1 mile. (JEL I12, L60, Q52, Q53, Q58, R23, R31)

Suggested Citation

  • Janet Currie & Lucas Davis & Michael Greenstone & Reed Walker, 2015. "Environmental Health Risks and Housing Values: Evidence from 1,600 Toxic Plant Openings and Closings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(2), pages 678-709, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:105:y:2015:i:2:p:678-709
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.20121656
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • L60 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - General
    • Q52 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Pollution Control Adoption and Costs; Distributional Effects; Employment Effects
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population
    • R31 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Housing Supply and Markets

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