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Air Pollution During Pregnancy and Birth Outcomes in Italy

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Abstract

We investigate the impact of fetal exposure to air pollution on health outcomes at birth in Italy in the 2000s combining information on mother’s residential location from birth certificates with information on PM10 concentrations from air quality monitors. The potential endogeneity deriving from differential pollution exposure is addressed by exploiting as-good-as-random variation in rainfall shocks as an instrumental variable for air pollution concentrations. Our results show that both average levels of PM10 and days above the hazard limit have detrimental effects on birth weight, duration of gestation as well as overall health status at birth. These effects are mainly driven by pollution exposure during the third trimester of pregnancy and further differ in size with respect to the maternal socio-economic status, suggesting that babies born to socially disadvantaged mothers are more vulnerable. Given the non negligible effects of pollution on birth outcomes, further policy efforts are needed to fully protect fetuses from the adverse effects of air pollution and to mitigate the environmental inequality of health at birth.

Suggested Citation

  • Alessandro Palma & Inna Petrunyk & Daniela Vuri, 2019. "Air Pollution During Pregnancy and Birth Outcomes in Italy," CEIS Research Paper 464, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 03 Sep 2019.
  • Handle: RePEc:rtv:ceisrp:464
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    pollution; particulate matter; birth weight; pre-term birth; environmental policies.;

    JEL classification:

    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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