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Air pollution and infant mortality: A natural experiment from power plant desulfurization

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  • Luechinger, Simon

Abstract

The paper estimates the effect of SO2 pollution on infant mortality in Germany, 1985–2003. To avoid endogeneity problems, I exploit the natural experiment created by the mandated desulfurization at power plants and power plants’ location and prevailing wind directions, which together determine treatment intensity for counties. Estimates translate into an elasticity of 0.07–0.13 and the observed reduction in pollution implies an annual gain of 826–1460 infant lives. There is no evidence for disproportionate effects on neonatal mortality, but for an increase in the number of infants with comparatively low birth weight and length.

Suggested Citation

  • Luechinger, Simon, 2014. "Air pollution and infant mortality: A natural experiment from power plant desulfurization," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 219-231.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:37:y:2014:i:c:p:219-231
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2014.06.009
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Hope Corman & Dhaval M. Dave & Nancy E. Reichman, 2017. "Evolution of the Infant Health Production Function," NBER Working Papers 24131, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Muzhe Yang & Shin-Yi Chou, 2015. "Impacts of Being Downwind of a Coal-Fired Power Plant on Infant Health at Birth: Evidence from the Precedent-Setting Portland Rule," NBER Working Papers 21723, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Ball, Alastair, 2014. "Air pollution, foetal mortality, and long-term health: Evidence from the Great London Smog," MPRA Paper 63229, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 25 Mar 2015.
    4. Lichter, Andreas & Pestel, Nico & Sommer, Eric, 2017. "Productivity effects of air pollution: Evidence from professional soccer," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 54-66.
    5. repec:eee:jeeman:v:92:y:2018:i:c:p:744-764 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. He, Guojun & Fan, Maoyong & Zhou, Maigeng, 2016. "The effect of air pollution on mortality in China: Evidence from the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 18-39.
    7. repec:eee:chieco:v:49:y:2018:i:c:p:68-83 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Alastair Ball, 2018. "The Long-Term Economic Costs of the Great London Smog," Birkbeck Working Papers in Economics and Finance 1814, Birkbeck, Department of Economics, Mathematics & Statistics.
    9. Deokrye Baek & Duha T. Altindag & Naci Mocan, 2015. "Chinese Yellow Dust and Korean Infant Health," NBER Working Papers 21613, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Tanaka, Shinsuke, 2015. "Environmental regulations on air pollution in China and their impact on infant mortality," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 90-103.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Health; Infants; Mortality; Infant mortality; Air pollution;

    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
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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