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London fog: A century of pollution and mortality, 1866-1965

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  • Walker Hanlon

    (NYU Stern School of Business)

Abstract

"This study provides new evidence on the impact of air pollution in London over the century from 1866-1965. To identify weeks with elevated pollution levels I use new data tracking the timing of London’s famous fog events, which trapped emissions in the city. These events are compared to detailed new weekly mortality data. My results show that acute pollution exposure due to fog events accounted for at least one out of every 200 deaths in London during this century. I provide evidence that the presence of infectious diseases of the respiratory system, such as measles and tuberculosis, increased the mortality effects of pollution. As a result, success in reducing the infectious diseases burden in London in the 20th century reduced the impact of pollution exposure and shifted the distribution of pollution effects across age groups."

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  • Walker Hanlon, 2018. "London fog: A century of pollution and mortality, 1866-1965," Working Papers 18019, Economic History Society.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehs:wpaper:18019
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    Cited by:

    1. Alastair Ball, 2018. "Hidden Costs of the Great London Smog: Evidence from Missing Births," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 38(4), pages 1823-1830.
    2. Stephanie von Hinke & Emil N. S{o}rensen, 2022. "The Long-Term Effects of Early-Life Pollution Exposure: Evidence from the London Smog," Papers 2202.11785, arXiv.org.
    3. Hanlon, W. Walker & Hansen, Casper Worm & Kantor, Jake, 2021. "Temperature, Disease, and Death in London: Analyzing Weekly Data for the Century from 1866 to 1965," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 81(1), pages 40-80, March.
    4. Karen Clay & Joshua A. Lewis & Edson R. Severnini & Xiao Wang, 2020. "The Value of Health Insurance during a Crisis: Effects of Medicaid Implementation on Pandemic Influenza Mortality," NBER Working Papers 27120, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Brian Beach & Karen Clay & Martin Saavedra, 2022. "The 1918 Influenza Pandemic and Its Lessons for COVID-19," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 60(1), pages 41-84, March.
    6. Schneider, Eric B., 2021. "The effect of nutritional status on historical infectious disease morbidity: evidence from the London Foundling Hospital, 1892-1919," Economic History Working Papers 111030, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
    7. Clay, Karen & Lewis, Joshua & Severnini, Edson, 2019. "What explains cross-city variation in mortality during the 1918 influenza pandemic? Evidence from 438 U.S. cities," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 42-50.
    8. W Walker Hanlon, 2020. "Coal Smoke, City Growth, and the Costs of the Industrial Revolution," The Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 130(626), pages 462-488.

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