The Impact of Air Pollution on Infant Mortality: Evidence from Geographic Variation in Pollution Shocks Induced by a Recession
This study uses sharp, differential air quality changes across sites attributable to geographic variation in the effects of the 1981-82 recession to estimate the relationship between infant mortality and particulates air pollution. It is shown that in the narrow period of 1980-82, there was substantial variation across counties in changes in particulates pollution, and that these differential pollution reductions appear to be orthogonal to changes in a multitude of other factors that may be related to infant mortality. Using the most detailed and comprehensive data available, we find that a 1 mg/m3 reduction in particulates results in about 4-8 fewer infant deaths per 100,000 (a 0.35-0.45 elasticity). The estimated effects are driven almost entirely by fewer deaths occurring within one month and one day of birth, suggesting that fetal exposure to pollution has adverse health consequences. The estimated effects of the pollution reductions on infant birth weight provide evidence consistent with this potential pathophysiologic mechanism. The analysis also reveals a nonlinear relationship between pollution and infant mortality at the county level. Importantly, the estimates are remarkably stable across a variety of specifications. All of these findings are masked in conventional' analyses based on less credible research designs.
|Date of creation:||Dec 1999|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 118, no. 3 (August 2003): 1121-1167|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Grossman, Michael & Joyce, Theodore J, 1990.
"Unobservables, Pregnancy Resolutions, and Birth Weight Production Functions in New York City,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 983-1007, October.
- Michael Grossman & Theodore J. Joyce, 1991. "Unobservables, Pregnancy Resolutions, and Birthweight Production Functions in New York City," NBER Working Papers 2746, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Levine, Phillip B. & Trainor, Amy B. & Zimmerman, David J., 1996.
"The effect of Medicaid abortion funding restrictions on abortions, pregnancies and births,"
Journal of Health Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 15(5), pages 555-578, October.
- Phillip B. Levine & Amy B. Trainor & David J. Zimmerman, 1995. "The Effect of Medicaid Abortion Funding Restrictions on Abortions, Pregnancies, and Births," NBER Working Papers 5066, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Chappie, Mike & Lave, Lester, 1982. "The health effects of air pollution: A reanalysis," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 346-376, November.
- Christopher J. Ruhm, 2000.
"Are Recessions Good For Your Health?,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
MIT Press, vol. 115(2), pages 617-650, May.
- Levine, P.B. & Trainor, A.B. & Zimmerman, D.J., 1995. "The Effect of Medicaid Abortion Funding Restrictions on Abortions, Pregnancies, Birth," Papers 95-08, Wellesley College - Department of Economics.
- Mendelsohn, Robert & Orcutt, Guy, 1979. "An empirical analysis of air pollution dose-response curves," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 85-106, June.
- Joyce, Theodore J. & Grossman, Michael & Goldman, Fred, 1989.
"An assessment of the benefits of air pollution control: The case of infant health,"
Journal of Urban Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 32-51, January.
- Theodore J. Joyce & Michael Grossman & Fred Goldman, 1986. "An Assessment of the Benefits of Air Pollution Control: The Case of Infant Health," NBER Working Papers 1928, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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.
- Kenneth Y. Chay & Michael Greenstone, 1998. "Does Air Quality Matter? Evidence from the Housing Market," NBER Working Papers 6826, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Ettner, Susan L., 1996. "New evidence on the relationship between income and health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 67-85, February.
- Evans, William N. & Ringel, Jeanne S., 1999.
"Can higher cigarette taxes improve birth outcomes?,"
Journal of Public Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 135-154, April.
- William N. Evans & Jeanne S. Ringel, 1997. "Can Higher Cigarette Taxes Improve Birth Outcomes?," NBER Working Papers 5998, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Hanratty, Maria J, 1996. "Canadian National Health Insurance and Infant Health," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 276-84, March.
- Lipfert, Frederick W., 1984. "Air pollution and mortality: Specification searches using SMSA-based data," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 208-243, September.
- Michael R Ransom & C. Arden Pope Iii, 1995. "External Health Costs Of A Steel Mill," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 13(2), pages 86-97, 04.
- Currie, Janet & Gruber, Jonathan, 1996. "Saving Babies: The Efficacy and Cost of Recent Changes in the Medicaid Eligibility of Pregnant Women," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(6), pages 1263-96, December.
- Rosenzweig, Mark R. & Wolpin, Kenneth I., 1991. "Inequality at birth : The scope for policy intervention," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1-2), pages 205-228, October.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7442. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.