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Does the Effect of Pollution on Infant Mortality Differ between Developing and Developed Countries? Evidence from Mexico City

  • Arceo, Eva

    (CIDE, Mexico City)

  • Hanna, Rema

    (Harvard University)

  • Oliva, Paulina

    (University of CA, Santa Barbara)

Much of what we know about the marginal effect of pollution on infant mortality is derived from developed country data. However, given the lower levels of air pollution in developed countries, these estimates may not be externally valid to the developing country context if there is a nonlinear dose relationship between pollution and mortality or if the costs of avoidance behavior differs considerably between the two contexts. In this paper, we estimate the relationship between pollution and infant mortality using data from Mexico. We find that an increase of 1 parts per billion in carbon monoxide (CO) over the last week results in 0.0032 deaths per 100,000 births, while a 1 (mu)g/m[superscript 3] increase in particulate matter (PM[subscript 10]) results in 0.24 infant deaths per 100,000 births. Our estimates for PM[subscript 10] tend to be similar (or even smaller) than the U.S. estimates, while our findings on CO tend to be larger than those derived from the U.S. context. We provide suggestive evidence that a non-linearity in the relationship between CO and health explains this difference.

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Paper provided by Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government in its series Working Paper Series with number rwp12-050.

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Date of creation: Nov 2012
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Handle: RePEc:ecl:harjfk:rwp12-050
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