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Traffic Congestion and Infant Health: Evidence from E-ZPass

  • Janet Currie
  • W. Reed Walker

We exploit the introduction of electronic toll collection, (E-ZPass), which greatly reduced both traffic congestion and vehicle emissions near highway toll plazas. We show that the introduction of E-ZPass reduced prematurity and low birth weight among mothers within 2km of a toll plaza by 10.8% and 11.8% respectively relative to mothers 2-10km from a toll plaza. There were no immediate changes in the characteristics of mothers or in housing prices near toll plazas that could explain these changes. The results are robust to many changes in specification and suggest that traffic congestion contributes significantly to poor health among infants.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15413.

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Date of creation: Oct 2009
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Janet Currie & Reed Walker, 2011. "Traffic Congestion and Infant Health: Evidence from E-ZPass," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 65-90, January.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15413
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  1. Hotz, V. Joseph & Crump, Richard K. & Mitnik, Oscar A. & Imbens, Guido, 2009. "Dealing with Limited Overlap in Estimation of Average Treatment Effects," Scholarly Articles 3007645, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Kenneth Y. Chay & Michael Greenstone, 2003. "Air Quality, Infant Mortality, and the Clean Air Act of 1970," NBER Working Papers 10053, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Christopher R. Knittel & Douglas L. Miller & Nicholas J. Sanders, 2011. "Caution, Drivers! Children Present: Traffic, Pollution, and Infant Health," Working Papers 1113, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research.
  4. Beatty, Timothy K.M. & Shimshack, Jay P., 2011. "School buses, diesel emissions, and respiratory health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 987-999.
  5. Kenneth Y. Chay & Michael Greenstone, 1999. "The Impact of Air Pollution on Infant Mortality: Evidence from Geographic Variation in Pollution Shocks Induced by a Recession," NBER Working Papers 7442, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Janet Currie, 2008. "Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise: Socioeconomic Status, Poor Health in Childhood, and Human Capital Development," NBER Working Papers 13987, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Janet Currie & Matthew J. Neidell & Johannes Schmieder, 2008. "Air Pollution and Infant Health: Lessons from New Jersey," NBER Working Papers 14196, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. H. Spencer Banzhaf & Randall P. Walsh, 2008. "Do People Vote with Their Feet? An Empirical Test of Tiebout," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 843-63, June.
  9. Vickrey, William S, 1969. "Congestion Theory and Transport Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(2), pages 251-60, May.
  10. Kenneth Y. Chay & Michael Greenstone, 2005. "Does Air Quality Matter? Evidence from the Housing Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(2), pages 376-424, April.
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