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Traffic Congestion and Infant Health: Evidence from E-ZPass

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  • Janet Currie
  • Reed Walker

Abstract

We exploit the introduction of electronic toll collection, (E-ZPass), which greatly reduced both traffic congestion and vehicle emissions near highway toll plazas. We show that the introduction of E-ZPass reduced prematurity and low birth weight among mothers within 2 kilometers (km) of a toll plaza by 10.8 percent and 11.8 percent, respectively, relative to mothers 2-10 km from a toll plaza. There were no immediate changes in the characteristics of mothers or in housing prices near toll plazas that could explain these changes. The results are robust to many changes in specification and suggest that traffic congestion contributes significantly to poor health among infants. (JEL I12, J13, Q51, Q53, R41)

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:3:y:2011:i:1:p:65-90
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.3.1.65
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Richard K. Crump & V. Joseph Hotz & Guido W. Imbens & Oscar A. Mitnik, 2009. "Dealing with limited overlap in estimation of average treatment effects," Biometrika, Biometrika Trust, vol. 96(1), pages 187-199.
    2. 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.
    3. repec:aph:ajpbhl:1989:79:5:623-628_7 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Christopher R. Knittel & Douglas L. Miller & Nicholas J. Sanders, 2016. "Caution, Drivers! Children Present: Traffic, Pollution, and Infant Health," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 98(2), pages 350-366, May.
    5. Kenneth Y. Chay & Michael Greenstone, 2005. "Does Air Quality Matter? Evidence from the Housing Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(2), pages 376-424, April.
    6. 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, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1121-1167.
    7. 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.
    8. Vickrey, William S, 1969. "Congestion Theory and Transport Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(2), pages 251-260, May.
    9. Kenneth Y. Chay & Michael Greenstone, 2003. "Air Quality, Infant Mortality, and the Clean Air Act of 1970," Working Papers 0406, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research.
    10. Beatty, Timothy K.M. & Shimshack, Jay P., 2011. "School buses, diesel emissions, and respiratory health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 987-999.
    11. H. Spencer Banzhaf & Randall P. Walsh, 2008. "Do People Vote with Their Feet? An Empirical Test of Tiebout," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 843-863, June.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • Q51 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Valuation of Environmental Effects
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
    • R41 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Transportation: Demand, Supply, and Congestion; Travel Time; Safety and Accidents; Transportation Noise

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