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Economic Status, Air Quality, and Child Health: Evidence from Inversion Episodes

Author

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  • Jans, Jenny

    () (Uppsala University)

  • Johansson, Per

    () (Uppsala University)

  • Nilsson, Peter

    () (IIES, Stockholm University)

Abstract

On normal days, the temperature decreases with altitude, allowing air pollutants to rise and disperse. During inversion episodes, a warmer air layer at higher altitude traps pollutants close to the ground. We show how readily available NASA satellite data on vertical temperature profiles can be used to measure inversion episodes on a global scale with high spatial and temporal resolution. Then, we link inversion episode data to ground level pollution monitors and to daily in- and outpatient records for the universe of children in Sweden during a six-year period to provide instrumental variable estimates of the effects of air quality on children's health. The IV estimates show that the respiratory illness health care visit rate increases by 8 percent for each 10 ?m/m³ increase in PM10; an estimate four times higher than conventional estimates. Importantly, by linking the health care data to detailed records of parental background characteristics, we show that children from low-income households suffer significantly more from air pollution than children from high income households. Finally, we provide evidence on the importance of several mechanisms that could contribute to the difference in the impact of air pollution across children in rich and poor households.

Suggested Citation

  • Jans, Jenny & Johansson, Per & Nilsson, Peter, 2014. "Economic Status, Air Quality, and Child Health: Evidence from Inversion Episodes," IZA Discussion Papers 7929, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7929
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Lutz Sager, 2016. "Estimating the effect of air pollution on road safety using atmospheric temperature," GRI Working Papers 251, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
    2. Ball, Alastair, 2014. "Air pollution, foetal mortality, and long-term health: Evidence from the Great London Smog," MPRA Paper 63229, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 25 Mar 2015.
    3. Fu, Shihe & Viard, Brian & Zhang, Peng, 2017. "Air Quality and Manufacturing Firm Productivity: Comprehensive Evidence from China," MPRA Paper 78914, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Aggeborn, Linuz & Öhman, Mattias, 2017. "The Effects of Fluoride in the Drinking Water," Working Paper Series 2017:20, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    5. Shuai Chen & Paulina Oliva & Peng Zhang, 2017. "The Effect of Air Pollution on Migration: Evidence from China," NBER Working Papers 24036, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    instrumental variable; environmental policy; inversions; health; air pollution; nonparametric regression; socio-economic gradient in health;

    JEL classification:

    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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