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Air pollution and infant health: Lessons from New Jersey

  • Currie, Janet
  • Neidell, Matthew
  • Schmieder, Johannes F.

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. Our work offers three important innovations. First, we use the exact addresses of mothers to select those closest to air monitors to improve the accuracy of air quality exposure. Second, we include maternal fixed effects to control for unobserved characteristics of mothers. Third, we examine interactions of air pollution with smoking and other risk factors for poor infant health outcomes. We find consistently negative effects of exposure to carbon monoxide (CO), both during and after birth, with effects considerably larger for smokers and 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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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Health Economics.

Volume (Year): 28 (2009)
Issue (Month): 3 (May)
Pages: 688-703

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:28:y:2009:i:3:p:688-703
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  1. Paul J. Devereux & Sandra E. Black & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2007. "From the cradle to the labor market? The effect of birth weight on adult outcomes," Open Access publications 10197/316, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  2. Currie, Janet & Neidell, Matthew, 2004. "Air Pollution and Infant Health: What Can We Learn From California's Recent Experience?," IZA Discussion Papers 1056, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. 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.
  4. 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, vol. 118(3), pages 1121-1167, August.
  5. 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.
  6. Paul J. Devereux & Sandra E. Black & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2007. "From the cradle to the labor market? The effect of birth weight on adult outcomes," Working Papers 10197/317, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  7. Douglas Almond & Kenneth Y. Chay & David S. Lee, 2004. "The Costs of Low Birth Weight," NBER Working Papers 10552, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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