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Air Pollution Causes Violent Crime

Author

Listed:
  • Anthony Heyes

    () (Department of Economics, University of Ottawa)

  • Soodeh Saberian

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

Abstract

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
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    File URL: http://sciencessociales.uottawa.ca/economics/sites/socialsciences.uottawa.ca.economics/files/1514e.pdf
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    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

    Keywords

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

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