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Alerts work! Air quality warnings and cycling

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  • Saberian, Soodeh
  • Heyes, Anthony
  • Rivers, Nicholas

Abstract

Alert programs are central to strategies to reduce pollution exposure and manage its impact. To be effective alerts have to change behavior, but evidence that they do that is sparse. Indeed the majority of published studies fail to find a significant impact of alerts on the outcome behavior that they study. Alerts particularly seek to influence energetic cardio-vascular outdoor pursuits. This study is the first to use administrative data to show that they are effective in reducing participation in such a pursuit (namely cycle use in Sydney, Australia), and to our knowledge the first to show that they are effective in changing any behavior in a non-US setting. We are careful to disentangle possible reactions to realised air quality from the ‘pure’, causal effect of the issuance of an alert. Our results suggest that when an air quality alert is issued, the amount of cycling is reduced by 14–35%, which is a substantial behavioral response. The results are robust to the inclusion of a battery of controls in various combinations, alternative estimation methods and non-linear specifications. We develop various sub-sample results, and also find evidence of alert fatigue.

Suggested Citation

  • Saberian, Soodeh & Heyes, Anthony & Rivers, Nicholas, 2017. "Alerts work! Air quality warnings and cycling," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 165-185.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:resene:v:49:y:2017:i:c:p:165-185
    DOI: 10.1016/j.reseneeco.2017.05.004
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Laffan, Kate, 2018. "Every breath you take, every move you make: Visits to the outdoors and physical activity help to explain the relationship between air pollution and subjective wellbeing," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 147(C), pages 96-113.
    2. repec:spr:envpol:v:20:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s10018-017-0196-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Williams, Austin M., 2019. "Understanding the micro-determinants of defensive behaviors against pollution," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 163(C), pages 42-51.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Information-based regulation; Averting behavior; Urban air quality; Health impacts of air pollution;

    JEL classification:

    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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