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Does Air Pollution Matter for Low Birth Weight?

Author

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  • Seonyeong Cho
  • Choongki Lee
  • Beomsoo Kim

    () (Department of Economics, Korea University, Seoul, Republic of Korea)

Abstract

There is growing concern that air pollution may impact the health of newborns. This study examines this issue by considering overtime variation generated by exogenous changes in the pollution level in Korea in early 2000, when some part of Korea experienced huge drop in air pollution. We matched the census of all births from 1998 to 2008 and air pollution data in mother¡¯s residence county level. For air pollutants, we considered carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, and ozone levels. The mother¡¯s exposure to one ozone level above 0.12 ppm per hour during the first trimester increased the probability of low birth weight by 0.4 percentage point (0.08% of the sample mean). On the other hand, the mother¡¯s exposure to carbon monoxide or sulfur dioxide during the third trimester led to a significant but modest increase in the probability of low birth weight. The results indicate that the effects of an air pollutant on the probability of low birth weight vary according to wh en the mother is exposed to the pollutant during the pregnancy.

Suggested Citation

  • Seonyeong Cho & Choongki Lee & Beomsoo Kim, 2012. "Does Air Pollution Matter for Low Birth Weight?," Discussion Paper Series 1201, Institute of Economic Research, Korea University.
  • Handle: RePEc:iek:wpaper:1201
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    File URL: http://econ.korea.ac.kr/~ri/WorkingPapers/w1201.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Janet Currie, 2011. "Inequality at Birth: Some Causes and Consequences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 1-22, May.
    2. Kenneth Y. Chay & Michael Greenstone, 2003. "The Impact of Air Pollution on Infant Mortality: Evidence from Geographic Variation in Pollution Shocks Induced by a Recession," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1121-1167.
    3. Grossman, Michael, 1972. "On the Concept of Health Capital and the Demand for Health," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(2), pages 223-255, March-Apr.
    4. Currie, J. & Cole, N., 1992. "Welfare and Child Health: the Link Between AFDC Participation and Birth Weight," Working papers 92-9, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    5. Currie, Janet & Cole, Nancy, 1993. "Welfare and Child Health: The Link between AFDC Participation and Birth Weight," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 971-985, September.
    6. Rosenzweig, Mark R. & Wolpin, Kenneth I., 1991. "Inequality at birth : The scope for policy intervention," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1-2), pages 205-228, October.
    7. Hope Corman & Theodore J. Joyce & Michael Grossman, 1985. "Birth Outcome Production Functions in the U.S," NBER Working Papers 1729, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. 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.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Air Pollution; Ozone; Carbon Monoxide; Sulfur Dioxide; Nitrogen Dioxide; Low Birth Weight;

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