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The causal effects of long-term PM2.5 exposure on COVID-19 in India


  • Takahiro Yamada

    (The World Bank)

  • Hiroyuki Yamada

    (Faculty of Economics, Keio University)

  • Muthukumara Mani

    (The World Bank)


This study investigates the causal effects of long-term PM2.5 exposure on COVID-19 deaths, fatality rates and cases in India by using an instrumental variables approach based on thermal inversion episodes. The estimation results indicate that a 1% increase in long-term exposure to PM2.5 leads to an increase in COVID-19 deaths by 5.7 percentage points and an increase in the COVID-19 fatality rate by 0.027 percentage points, but this exposure is not necessarily correlated with COVID-19 cases. People with underlying health conditions such as respiratory illness caused by exposure to air pollution might have a higher risk of death following SARS-CoV-2 infection. This finding might also apply to other countries where high levels of air pollution are a critical issue in terms of development and public health.

Suggested Citation

  • Takahiro Yamada & Hiroyuki Yamada & Muthukumara Mani, 2021. "The causal effects of long-term PM2.5 exposure on COVID-19 in India," Keio-IES Discussion Paper Series 2021-002, Institute for Economics Studies, Keio University.
  • Handle: RePEc:keo:dpaper:2021-002

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Jorge A Bonilla & Alejandro Lopez-Feldman & Paula Pereda & Nathaly M. Rivera & J. Cristobal Ruiz-Tagle, 2021. "Long-Term Air Pollution Exposure and COVID-19 Mortality in Latin America," Working Papers, Department of Economics 2021_23, University of São Paulo (FEA-USP), revised 02 Feb 2023.

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    More about this item


    COVID-19; Ambient Air Pollution; Instrumental Variables Approach; Thermal Inversion; India;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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