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Caution, Drivers! Children Present: Traffic, Pollution, and Infant Health

  • Christopher R. Knittel
  • Douglas L. Miller
  • Nicholas J. Sanders

Since the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 (CAAA), atmospheric concentration of local pollutants has fallen drastically. A natural question is whether further reductions will yield additional health benefits. We further this research by addressing two related research questions: (1) what is the impact of automobile driving (and especially congestion) on ambient air pollution levels, and (2) what is the impact of modern air pollution levels on infant health? Our setting is California (with a focus on the Central Valley and Southern California) in the years 2002-2007. Using an instrumental variables approach that exploits the relationship between traffic, ambient weather conditions, and various pollutants, our findings suggest that ambient pollution levels, specifically particulate matter, still have large impacts on weekly infant mortality rates. Our results also illustrate the importance of weather controls in measuring pollution’s impact on infant mortality.

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Paper provided by Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research in its series Working Papers with number 1113.

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Date of creation: Jul 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mee:wpaper:1113
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  1. Alan Barreca, 2009. "Climate Change, Humidity, and Mortality in the United States," Working Papers 0906, Tulane University, Department of Economics, revised Jul 2009.
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  18. Douglas Almond & Lena Edlund & Mårten Palme, 2007. "Chernobyl's Subclinical Legacy: Prenatal Exposure to Radioactive Fallout and School Outcomes in Sweden," NBER Working Papers 13347, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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