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Can Natural Gas Save Lives? Evidence from the Deployment of a Fuel Delivery System in a Developing Country

Listed author(s):
  • Resul Cesur
  • Erdal Tekin
  • Aydogan Ulker

There has been a widespread displacement of coal by natural gas as space heating and cooking technology in Turkey in the last two decades, triggered by the deployment of natural gas networks. In this paper, we examine the impact of this development on mortality among adults and the elderly. Our research design exploits the variation in the timing of the deployment and the intensity of expansion of natural gas networks at the provincial level using data from 2001 to 2014. The results indicate that the expansion of natural gas services has caused significant reductions in both the adult and the elderly mortality rates. According to our point estimates, a one-percentage point increase in the rate of subscriptions to natural gas services would lower the overall mortality rate by 1.4 percent, the adult mortality rate by 1.9 percent, and the elderly mortality rate by 1.2 percent. These findings are supported by our auxiliary analysis, which demonstrates that the expansion of natural gas networks has indeed led to a significant improvement in air quality. Furthermore, we show that the mortality gains for both the adult and the elderly populations are primarily driven by reductions in cardio-respiratory deaths, which are more likely to be due to conditions caused or exacerbated by air pollution. Finally, our analysis does not reveal any important gender differences in the estimated relationship between the deployment of natural gas networks and mortality.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 22522.

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Date of creation: Aug 2016
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:22522
Note: DEV EEE HE
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  1. Michael Greenstone & Rema Hanna, 2014. "Environmental Regulations, Air and Water Pollution, and Infant Mortality in India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(10), pages 3038-3072, October.
  2. Paltsev, Sergey & Jacoby, Henry D. & Reilly, John M. & Ejaz, Qudsia J. & Morris, Jennifer & O'Sullivan, Francis & Rausch, Sebastian & Winchester, Niven & Kragha, Oghenerume, 2011. "The future of U.S. natural gas production, use, and trade," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(9), pages 5309-5321, September.
  3. Cesur, Resul & Güneş, Pınar Mine & Tekin, Erdal & Ulker, Aydogan, 2017. "The value of socialized medicine: The impact of universal primary healthcare provision on mortality rates in Turkey," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 150(C), pages 75-93.
  4. Seema Jayachandran, 2009. "Air Quality and Early-Life Mortality: Evidence from Indonesia’s Wildfires," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(4).
  5. Hill, Elaine L., 2012. "Unconventional Natural Gas Development and Infant Health: Evidence from Pennsylvania," Working Papers 128815, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
  6. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-In-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275.
  7. Lockwood, Alan H., M.D., 2012. "The Silent Epidemic: Coal and the Hidden Threat to Health," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 026201789x, January.
  8. Michael L. Anderson, 2015. "As the Wind Blows: The Effects of Long-Term Exposure to Air Pollution on Mortality," NBER Working Papers 21578, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Resul Cesur & Erdal Tekin & Aydogan Ulker, 2013. "Air Pollution and Infant Mortality: Evidence from the Expansion of Natural Gas Infrastructure," NBER Working Papers 18736, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Barreca, Alan I. & Clay, Karen & Tarr, Joel, 2014. "Coal, Smoke, and Death: Bituminous Coal and American Home Heating," IZA Discussion Papers 7987, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Justin Wolfers, 2006. "Did Unilateral Divorce Laws Raise Divorce Rates? A Reconciliation and New Results," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1802-1820, December.
  12. Cesur, Resul & Güneş, Pınar Mine & Tekin, Erdal & Ulker, Aydogan, 2015. "The Value of Socialized Medicine: The Impact of Universal Primary Healthcare Provision on Birth and Mortality Rates in Turkey," IZA Discussion Papers 9329, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. Christopher R. Knittel & Konstantinos Metaxoglou & Andre Trindade, 2015. "Natural Gas Prices and Coal Displacement: Evidence from Electricity Markets," NBER Working Papers 21627, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Michael Levi, 2013. "Climate consequences of natural gas as a bridge fuel," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 118(3), pages 609-623, June.
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