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

Listed author(s):
  • Timothy Halliday

    (Department of Economics, University of Hawaii)

  • John Lynham

    (Department of Economics, University of Hawaii)

  • Aureo de Paula

    (UCL, S~aoPauloSchoolofEconomics)

Registered author(s):

    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.

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    File URL: http://www.economics.hawaii.edu/research/workingpapers/WP_16-20R.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2016 09
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 201620.

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    Date of creation: Sep 2016
    Handle: RePEc:hai:wpaper:201620
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    1. Chay, Kenneth & Dobkin, Carlos & Greenstone, Michael, 2003. "The Clean Air Act of 1970 and Adult Mortality," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 27(3), pages 279-300, December.
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    6. Seema Jayachandran, 2009. "Air Quality and Early-Life Mortality: Evidence from Indonesia’s Wildfires," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(4).
    7. Kenneth Y. Chay & Michael Greenstone, 2003. "Air Quality, Infant Mortality, and the Clean Air Act of 1970," Working Papers 0406, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research.
    8. Janet Currie & Reed Walker, 2011. "Traffic Congestion and Infant Health: Evidence from E-ZPass," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 65-90, January.
    9. David Roodman, 2009. "A Note on the Theme of Too Many Instruments," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 71(1), pages 135-158, February.
    10. Enrico Moretti & Matthew Neidell, 2011. "Pollution, Health, and Avoidance Behavior: Evidence from the Ports of Los Angeles," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 46(1), pages 154-175.
    11. Arellano, Manuel, 2003. "Panel Data Econometrics," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199245291.
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