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Air pollution and infant health: Lessons from New Jersey

Author

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

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:28:y:2009:i:3:p:688-703
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Douglas Almond & Kenneth Y. Chay & David S. Lee, 2005. "The Costs of Low Birth Weight," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 1031-1083.
    2. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2007. "From the Cradle to the Labor Market? The Effect of Birth Weight on Adult Outcomes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(1), pages 409-439.
    3. 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.
    4. Janet Currie & Matthew Neidell, 2005. "Air Pollution and Infant Health: What Can We Learn from California's Recent Experience?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 1003-1030.
    5. Janet Currie, 2009. "Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise: Socioeconomic Status, Poor Health in Childhood, and Human Capital Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, pages 87-122.
    6. 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.
    7. repec:aph:ajpbhl:1989:79:5:623-628_7 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. repec:ucn:wpaper:10197/317 is not listed on IDEAS
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Air pollution Infant health Carbon monoxide Birth weight Infant mortality;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling

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