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The health effects of air pollution in Delhi, India


  • Cropper, Maureen L.
  • Simon, Nathalie B.
  • Alberini, Anna
  • Sharma, P. K.


The authors report the results of a time-series study of the impact of particulate air pollution on daily mortality in Delhi. They find: a) A positive, significant relationship between particulate pollution and daily nontraumatic deaths as well as deaths from certain causes (respiratory and cardiovascular problems) and for certain age groups. b) In general, these impacts are smaller than those estimated for other countries, where on average a 100-microgram increase in total suspended particulates (TSP) leads to a 6-percent increase in nontraumatic mortality. In Delhi, such an increase in TSP is associated with a 2.3-percent increase in deaths. c) The differences in magnitudes of the effects are most likely explained by differences in distributions of age at death and cause of death, as most deaths in Delhi occur before the age of 65 and are not attributed to causes with a strong association with air pollution. d) Although air pollution seems to have less impact on mortality counts in Delhi, the number of life-years saved per death avoided is greater in Delhi than in US cities -- because the age distribution of impacts in these two places varies. In the United States particulates have the greatest influence on daily deaths among persons 65 and older. In Delhi, they have the greatest impact in the 15-to-44 age group. That means that for each death associated with air pollution, on average more life-years would be saved in Delhi than in the United States. Large differences in the magnitude of effects do call into question the validity of the"concentration-response transfer"procedure. In that procedure, concentration-response relationships found for industrial countries are applied to cities in developing countries with little or no adjustment, to estimate the effects of pollution on daily mortality.

Suggested Citation

  • Cropper, Maureen L. & Simon, Nathalie B. & Alberini, Anna & Sharma, P. K., 1997. "The health effects of air pollution in Delhi, India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1860, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1860

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. N/A, 1995. "Abstracts," The Journal of Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India, vol. 4(2), pages 279-297, September.
    2. N/A, 1995. "Abstracts," The Journal of Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India, vol. 4(1), pages 129-143, March.
    3. Ostr, Bart & Sanchez, Jose Miguel & Aranda, Carlos & Eskeland, Gunnar S., 1995. "Air pollution and mortality : results from Santiago, Chile," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1453, The World Bank.
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    Cited by:

    1. Elizabeth Frankenberg & Douglas McKee & Duncan Thomas, 2005. "Health consequences of forest fires in Indonesia," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 42(1), pages 109-129, February.
    2. A L Nagar & Amit Shovon Ray & Aparna Sawhney & Sayan Samanta, 2008. "The Interface Between Economic Development, Health and Environment in India : An Econometric Investigation," Working Papers id:1805, eSocialSciences.
    3. Deepa Menon Choudhary & Amit Garg & P.R Shukla, 2009. "Assessing Policy Choices For Managing SO2 Emisions From Indian Power Sector," Working Papers id:1957, eSocialSciences.
    4. Gunnar S. Eskeland & Jian Xie, 1998. "Acting Globally while Thinking Locally: Is the Global Environment Protected by Transport Emission Control Programs?," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 1, pages 385-411, November.
    5. Gangadharan, Lata & Valenzuela, Ma. Rebecca, 2001. "Interrelationships between income, health and the environment: extending the Environmental Kuznets Curve hypothesis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 513-531, March.
    6. Surender Kumar & D.N. Rao, 2001. "Valuing The Beneficts of Air Pollution Abatement Using a Health Production Function A Case Study of Panipat Thermal Power Station, India," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 20(2), pages 91-102, October.
    7. Millimet, Daniel L. & Slottje, Daniel, 1999. "The Distribution of Pollution in the United States: An Environmental Gini Approach," Departmental Working Papers 002, Southern Methodist University, Department of Economics.
    8. Kadian, Rashmi & Dahiya, R.P. & Garg, H.P., 2007. "Energy-related emissions and mitigation opportunities from the household sector in Delhi," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(12), pages 6195-6211, December.


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