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Environmental Regulations on Air Pollution in China and Their Impact on Infant Mortality

Author

Listed:
  • Shinsuke Tanaka

    (Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University)

Abstract

Developing countries rank highest in air pollution worldwide, yet regulations of such pollution are still rare in these countries, thereby whether, and to what extent, those regulations lead to health benefits remain an open question. Since 1995, the Chinese government has imposed stringent regulations on pollutant emissions from power plants, as one of the first regulatory attempts on a large scale in a developing country. Exploiting the variation in the regulatory status across time and space, we find that infant mortality fell by 21 percent in the treatment cities designated as the so-called gTwo Control Zones." The greatest reduction of mortality occurred during the neonatal period, highlighting the importance of fetal exposure as a biological mechanism, and was largest among the households with low mother's educational attainment. On the other hand, the regulations are found to be uncorrelated with deaths from causes unrelated to air pollution. When the regulatory status is used as an instrumental variable for air pollution reductions, we estimate that the impact of a unit change in total suspended particulates on infant mortality is of similar magnitude to that found in the U.S., but the elasticity is substantially higher in China, suggesting the greater benefits associated with regulations when pollution is already quite high.

Suggested Citation

  • Shinsuke Tanaka, 2012. "Environmental Regulations on Air Pollution in China and Their Impact on Infant Mortality," IDEC DP2 Series 2-11, Hiroshima University, Graduate School for International Development and Cooperation (IDEC).
  • Handle: RePEc:hir:idecdp:2-11
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    File URL: http://ir.lib.hiroshima-u.ac.jp/files/public/32984/20141016192112161814/IDEC-DP2_02-11.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2012
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Randy A. Becker & J. Vernon Henderson, 2001. "Costs of Air Quality Regulation," NBER Chapters,in: Behavioral and Distributional Effects of Environmental Policy, pages 159-186 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Currie, Janet & Neidell, Matthew & Schmieder, Johannes F., 2009. "Air pollution and infant health: Lessons from New Jersey," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 688-703, May.
    3. Mendelsohn, Robert & Orcutt, Guy, 1979. "An empirical analysis of air pollution dose-response curves," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 85-106, June.
    4. Janet Currie & Matthew Neidell, 2005. "Air Pollution and Infant Health: What Can We Learn from California's Recent Experience?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 1003-1030.
    5. 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).
    6. Nancy Qian, 2008. "Missing Women and the Price of Tea in China: The Effect of Sex-Specific Earnings on Sex Imbalance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(3), pages 1251-1285.
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    8. Case, Anne & Fertig, Angela & Paxson, Christina, 2005. "The lasting impact of childhood health and circumstance," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 365-389, March.
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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Michael Greenstone & Rema Hanna, 2014. "Environmental Regulations, Air and Water Pollution, and Infant Mortality in India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(10), pages 3038-3072, October.
    2. repec:wly:econjl:v:127:y:2017:i:600:p:330-362 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Resul Cesur & Erdal Tekin & Aydogan Ulker, 2017. "Air Pollution and Infant Mortality: Evidence from the Expansion of Natural Gas Infrastructure," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 127(600), pages 330-362, March.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Environmental regulation; infant mortality; air quality; China;

    JEL classification:

    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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