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Air Pollution and Infant Mortality: Evidence from the Expansion of Natural Gas Infrastructure

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  • Cesur, Resul

    (University of Connecticut)

  • Tekin, Erdal

    (American University)

  • Ulker, Aydogan

    (Deakin University)

Abstract

One of the consequences of rapid economic growth and industrialization in the developing world has been deterioration in environmental conditions and air quality. While air pollution is a serious threat to health in most developing countries, environmental regulations are rare and the determination to address the problem is weak due to ongoing pressures to sustain robust economic growth. Under these constraints, natural gas, as a clean, abundant, and highly-efficient source of energy, has emerged as an increasingly attractive source of fuel, which could address some of the environmental and health challenges faced by these countries without undermining their economies. In this paper, we examine the impact of air pollution on infant mortality in Turkey using variation across provinces and over time in the adoption of natural gas as a cleaner fuel. Our results indicate that the expansion of natural gas infrastructure has caused a significant decrease in the rate of infant mortality in Turkey. In particular, a one-percentage point increase in the rate of subscriptions to natural gas services would cause the infant mortality rate to decline by 4 percent, which could result in 348 infant lives saved in 2011 alone. These results are robust to a large number of specifications. Finally, we use supplemental data on total particulate matter and sulfur dioxide to produce direct estimates of the effects of these pollutants on infant mortality using natural gas expansion as an instrument. Our elasticity estimates from the instrumental variable analysis are 1.25 for particulate matter and 0.63 for sulfur dioxide.

Suggested Citation

  • Cesur, Resul & Tekin, Erdal & Ulker, Aydogan, 2013. "Air Pollution and Infant Mortality: Evidence from the Expansion of Natural Gas Infrastructure," IZA Discussion Papers 7179, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7179
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Turkey; natural gas; environment; infant mortality; air pollution; coal;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I0 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - General
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • Q42 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Alternative Energy Sources
    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy
    • 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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