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Caution, Drivers! Children Present: Traffic, Pollution, and Infant Health

Author

Listed:
  • Christopher R. Knittel

    (MIT and NBER)

  • Douglas L. Miller

    (University of California, Davis, and NBER)

  • Nicholas J. Sanders

    (Cornell University)

Abstract

We investigate the effects of automobile congestion on ambient air pollution and local infant mortality rates using data from California spanning 2002 to 2007. Constructing instrumental variables (IV) using the relationship of traffic, weather conditions, and pollutants, we show that particulate matter, even at modern levels, has large marginal effects on weekly infant mortality rates, especially for premature or low birthweight infants. We also find suggestive evidence of large effects for carbon monoxide, though results are imprecise. Finally, we check estimate sensitivity to nonclassical measurement error in local pollution and show that our IV results are robust to such concerns.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher R. Knittel & Douglas L. Miller & Nicholas J. Sanders, 2016. "Caution, Drivers! Children Present: Traffic, Pollution, and Infant Health," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 98(2), pages 350-366, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:98:y:2016:i:2:p:350-366
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    More about this item

    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
    • R40 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - General

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