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Covid-19 Mortality and Contemporaneous Air Pollution

Author

Listed:
  • Wes Austin
  • Stefano Carattini
  • John Gomez Mahecha
  • Michael Pesko

Abstract

We examine the relationship between contemporaneous fine particulate matter exposure and COVID-19 morbidity and mortality using an instrumental variable approach based on wind direction. Harnessing daily changes in county-level wind direction, we show that arguably exogenous fluctuations in local air quality impact the rate of confirmed cases and deaths from COVID-19. In our preferred high dimensional fixed effects specification with state-level policy and social distancing controls, we find that a one μg/m3 increase in PM 2.5 increases the number of confirmed cases by roughly 2% from the mean case rate in a county. These effects tend to increase in magnitude over longer time horizons, being twice as large over a 3-day period. Meanwhile, a one μg/m3 increase in PM 2.5 increases the same-day death rate by 3% from the mean. Our estimates are robust to a host of sensitivity tests. These results suggest that air pollution plays an important role in mediating the severity of respiratory syndromes such as COVID-19, for which progressive respiratory failure is the primary cause of death, and that policy levers to improve air quality may lead to improvements in COVID-19 outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Wes Austin & Stefano Carattini & John Gomez Mahecha & Michael Pesko, 2020. "Covid-19 Mortality and Contemporaneous Air Pollution," CESifo Working Paper Series 8609, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_8609
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    Cited by:

    1. Takahiro Yamada & Hiroyuki Yamada & Muthukumara Mani, 2021. "The causal effects of long-term PM2.5 exposure on COVID-19 in India," Keio-IES Discussion Paper Series 2021-002, Institute for Economics Studies, Keio University.
    2. Isphording, Ingo E. & Pestel, Nico, 2021. "Pandemic meets pollution: Poor air quality increases deaths by COVID-19," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 108(C).
    3. Blackman, Allen & Bonilla, Jorge A. & Villalobos, Laura, 2023. "Quantifying COVID-19’s silver lining: Avoided deaths from air quality improvements in Bogotá," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 117(C).
    4. Persico, Claudia L. & Johnson, Kathryn R., 2021. "The effects of increased pollution on COVID-19 cases and deaths," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 107(C).
    5. Austin, Wes & Carattini, Stefano & Gomez-Mahecha, John & Pesko, Michael F., 2023. "The effects of contemporaneous air pollution on COVID-19 morbidity and mortality," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 119(C).
    6. Andrea Baranzini & Stefano Carattini & Linda Tesauro, 2021. "Designing Effective and Acceptable Road Pricing Schemes: Evidence from the Geneva Congestion Charge," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 79(3), pages 417-482, July.
    7. Becchetti, Leonardo & Beccari, Gabriele & Conzo, Gianluigi & Conzo, Pierluigi & De Santis, Davide & Salustri, Francesco, 2022. "Particulate matter and COVID-19 excess deaths: Decomposing long-term exposure and short-term effects," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 194(C).
    8. Xinming Du, 2023. "Symptom or Culprit? Social Media, Air Pollution, and Violence," CESifo Working Paper Series 10296, CESifo.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    pollution; air quality; PM 2.5; COVID-19; health; mortality;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • 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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