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Air Pollution and Infant Mortality: Evidence from the Expansion of Natural Gas Infrastructure

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  • Resul Cesur
  • Erdal Tekin
  • Aydogan Ulker

Abstract

One of the consequences of rapid economic growth and industrialization in the developing world has been deterioration in environmental conditions and air quality. While air pollution is a serious threat to health in most developing countries, environmental regulations are rare and the determination to address the problem is weak due to ongoing pressures to sustain robust economic growth. Under these constraints, natural gas, as a clean, abundant, and highly-efficient source of energy, has emerged as an increasingly attractive source of fuel, which could address some of the environmental and health challenges faced by these countries without undermining their economies. In this paper, we examine the impact of air pollution on infant mortality in Turkey using variation across provinces and over time in the adoption of natural gas as a cleaner fuel. Our results indicate that the expansion of natural gas infrastructure has caused a significant decrease in the rate of infant mortality in Turkey. In particular, a one-percentage point increase in the rate of subscriptions to natural gas services would cause the infant mortality rate to decline by 4 percent, which could result in 348 infant lives saved in 2011 alone. These results are robust to a large number of specifications. Finally, we use supplemental data on total particulate matter and sulfur dioxide to produce direct estimates of the effects of these pollutants on infant mortality using natural gas expansion as an instrument. Our elasticity estimates from the instrumental variable analysis are 1.25 for particulate matter and 0.63 for sulfur dioxide.
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Suggested Citation

  • Resul Cesur & Erdal Tekin & Aydogan Ulker, 2017. "Air Pollution and Infant Mortality: Evidence from the Expansion of Natural Gas Infrastructure," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 127(600), pages 330-362, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:econjl:v:127:y:2017:i:600:p:330-362
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/ecoj.2017.127.issue-600
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    1. repec:eee:pubeco:v:150:y:2017:i:c:p:75-93 is not listed on IDEAS
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    3. repec:eee:jhecon:v:59:y:2018:i:c:p:91-108 is not listed on IDEAS
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    8. Salahodjaev, Raufhon & Yuldashev, Oybek, 2016. "Intelligence and greenhouse gas emissions: Introducing Intelligence Kuznets curve," MPRA Paper 68997, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    10. Altindag, Duha T. & Filiz, S. Elif & Tekin, Erdal, 2017. "Does It Matter How and How Much Politicians are Paid?," GLO Discussion Paper Series 90, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    11. Ozdamar, Oznur & Giovanis, Eleftherios, 2014. "Valuing the Effects of Air and Noise Pollution on Health Status in Turkey," MPRA Paper 59992, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Cesur, Resul & Güneş, Pınar Mine & Tekin, Erdal & Ulker, Aydogan, 2017. "The value of socialized medicine: The impact of universal primary healthcare provision on mortality rates in Turkey," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 150(C), pages 75-93.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I0 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - General
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • Q42 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Alternative Energy Sources
    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy
    • 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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