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Long-Term Air Pollution Exposure and COVID-19 Mortality in Latin America

Author

Listed:
  • Jorge A Bonilla
  • Alejandro Lopez-Feldman, Paula Pereda, Nathaly M. Rivera, J. Cristobal Ruiz-Tagle

Abstract

Ambient air pollution is a major problem in many countries of the developing world. This study examines the relationship between long-term exposure to air pollution and COVID-19-related deaths in four countries of Latin America that have been highly affected by the pandemic: Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico. Relying on historical satellite-based measures of fine particulate matter concentrations and official vital statistics, our results suggest that an increase in long-term exposure of 1 μg/m3 of fine particles is associated with a 2.7 percent increase in the COVID-19 mortality rate. This relationship is found primarily in municipalities of metropolitan areas, where urban air pollution sources dominate, and air quality guidelines are usually exceeded. Our findings support the call for strengthening environmental policies that improve air quality in the region, as well as allocating more health care capacity and resources to those areas most affected by air pollution.

Suggested Citation

  • Jorge A Bonilla & Alejandro Lopez-Feldman, Paula Pereda, Nathaly M. Rivera, J. Cristobal Ruiz-Tagle, 2021. "Long-Term Air Pollution Exposure and COVID-19 Mortality in Latin America," Working Papers, Department of Economics 2021_23, University of São Paulo (FEA-USP), revised 11 Jan 2022.
  • Handle: RePEc:spa:wpaper:2021wpecon23
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; coronavirus; air pollution; particulate matter; Latin;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • Q52 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Pollution Control Adoption and Costs; Distributional Effects; Employment Effects
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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