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Population density and urban air quality

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  • Borck, Rainald
  • Schrauth, Philipp

Abstract

We use panel data from Germany to analyze the effect of population density on urban air pollution (nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, ozone, and an aggregate index for bad air quality [AQI]). To address unobserved heterogeneity and omitted variables, we present long difference/fixed effects estimates and instrumental variables estimates, using historical population and soil quality as instruments. Using our preferred estimates, we find that the concentration increases with density for NO2 with an elasticity of 0.25 and particulate matter with elasticity of 0.08. The O3 concentration decreases with density with an elasticity of −0.14. The AQI increases with density, with an elasticity of 0.11–0.13. We also present a variety of robustness tests. Overall, the paper shows that higher population density worsens local air quality.

Suggested Citation

  • Borck, Rainald & Schrauth, Philipp, 2021. "Population density and urban air quality," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:regeco:v:86:y:2021:i:c:s0166046220302817
    DOI: 10.1016/j.regsciurbeco.2020.103596
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    Cited by:

    1. Alexander Daminger & Kristof Dascher, 2020. "City Skew and Homeowner Subsidy Removal," Working Papers 195, Bavarian Graduate Program in Economics (BGPE).
    2. Carozzi, Felipe & Roth, Sefi, 2020. "Dirty Density: Air Quality and the Density of American Cities," IZA Discussion Papers 13191, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Carozzi, Felipe & Roth, Sefi, 2019. "Dirty density: air quality and the density of American cities," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 103393, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    4. Felipe Carozzi & Sefi Roth, 2019. "Dirty density: air quality and the density of American cities," CEP Discussion Papers dp1635, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    5. Espoir, Delphin Kamanda & Sunge, Regret, 2021. "Co2 Emissions and Economic Development in Africa: Evidence from A Dynamic Spatial Panel Model," EconStor Preprints 234131, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    6. Klingen, Joris & van Ommeren, Jos, 2020. "Urban air pollution and time losses: Evidence from cyclists in London," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Population density; Air pollution;

    JEL classification:

    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)

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