IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Air Pollution Causes Violent Crime


  • Anthony Heyes

    () (Department of Economics, University of Ottawa)

  • Soodeh Saberian

    (PhD student, Department of Economics, University of Ottawa)


Scientific evidence is that ozone exposure induces aggression, irritability, impulsivity and loss-of-control in humans, mice, monkeys and other animals. Consistent with this we use data from Los Angeles to generate the first evidence causally linking day-to-day variations in air quality to violent crime. The effect is substantial. Using IV methods with wind direction as instrument our preferred specification points to a 17% increase in assaults for a 10 ppb increase in daily fine particulate pollution. We also identify very small positive impacts of carbon monoxide (CO). The results satisfy a wide set of robustness checks. Cost-benefit analyses that fail to account for these effects will substantially under-estimate the case for air quality regulation.

Suggested Citation

  • Anthony Heyes & Soodeh Saberian, 2015. "Air Pollution Causes Violent Crime," Working Papers 1514E, University of Ottawa, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ott:wpaper:1514e

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Stephan Heblich & Alex Trew & Yanos Zylberberg, 2016. "East Side Story: Historical Pollution and Persistent Neighborhood Sorting," Discussion Paper Series, School of Economics and Finance 201613, School of Economics and Finance, University of St Andrews, revised 20 Mar 2018.

    More about this item


    Valuation of air quality; Non-health impacts of pollution; crime;
    All these keywords.

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ott:wpaper:1514e. 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: (Diane Ritchot). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.