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Traffic Congestion and Infant Health: Evidence from E-ZPass

  • Janet Currie
  • Reed Walker

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)

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/app.3.1.65
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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 3 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 65-90

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:3:y:2011:i:1:p:65-90
Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.3.1.65
Contact details of provider: Web page: https://www.aeaweb.org/aej-applied
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  1. Kenneth Y. Chay & Michael Greenstone, 1999. "The Impact of Air Pollution on Infant Mortality: Evidence from Geographic Variation in Pollution Shocks Induced by a Recession," NBER Working Papers 7442, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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.
  3. Christopher R. Knittel & Douglas L. Miller & Nicholas J. Sanders, 2011. "Caution, Drivers! Children Present: Traffic, Pollution, and Infant Health," NBER Working Papers 17222, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Richard K. Crump & V. Joseph Hotz & Guido W. Imbens & Oscar A. Mitnik, 2004. "Dealing with Limited Overlap in Estimation of Average Treatment Effects," Working Papers 0716, University of Miami, Department of Economics, revised 12 Jun 2007.
  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. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521117562 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Vickrey, William S, 1969. "Congestion Theory and Transport Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(2), pages 251-60, May.
  8. 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.
  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. 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 843-63, June.
  11. 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.
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