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Vog: Using Volcanic Eruptions to Estimate the Health Costs of Particulates

Author

Listed:
  • Timothy Halliday

    (Department of Economics, University of Hawaii)

  • John Lynham

    (Department of Economics, University of Hawaii)

  • Aureo de Paula

    (UCL, S~aoPauloSchoolofEconomics)

Abstract

The negative consequences of long-term exposure to particulate pollution are well established but many studies find no effect of short-term exposure on health outcomes. The high correlation of industrial pollutant emissions complicates the estimation of the impact of individual pollutants on health. In this study, we use emissions from Kilauea volcano, which are uncorrelated with other pollution sources, to estimate the impact of pollutants on local emergency room (ER) admissions and a precise measure of costs. A one standard deviation increase in particulates leads to a 23-36% increase in expenditures on ER visits for pulmonary outcomes, mostly among the very young. Even in an area where air quality is well within the safety guidelines of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, this estimate is much larger than those in the existing literature on the short term effects of particulates. No strong effects for cardiovascular outcomes are found.

Suggested Citation

  • Timothy Halliday & John Lynham & Aureo de Paula, 2016. "Vog: Using Volcanic Eruptions to Estimate the Health Costs of Particulates," Working Papers 201620, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hai:wpaper:201620
    as

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    File URL: http://www.economics.hawaii.edu/research/workingpapers/WP_16-20R.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2016 09
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Chris Sampson’s journal round-up for 7th May 2018
      by Chris Sampson in The Academic Health Economists' Blog on 2018-05-07 11:00:17

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Pollution; Health; Volcano; Particulates; SO2;

    JEL classification:

    • H51 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Health
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • Q51 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Valuation of Environmental Effects
    • 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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