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http://ssrn.com/abstract=509182
 
 

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Air Quality, Infant Mortality, and the Clean Air Act of 1970


Kenneth Y. Chay


University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Michael Greenstone


Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

August 2003

MIT Department of Economics Working Paper No. 04-08

Abstract:     
We examine the effects of total suspended particulates (TSPs) air pollution on infant health using the air quality improvements induced by the 1970 Clean Air Act Amendments (CAAA). This legislation imposed strict regulations on industrial polluters in "nonattainment" counties with TSPs concentrations exceeding the federal ceiling. We use nonattainment status as an instrumental variable for TSPs changes to estimate their impact on infant mortality changes in the first year that the 1970 CAAA was in force.

TSPs nonattainment status is associated with sharp reductions in both TSPs pollution and infant mortality from 1971 to 1972. The greater reductions in nonattainment counties near the federal ceiling relative to the "attainment" counties narrowly below the ceiling suggest that the regulations are the cause.

We estimate that a one percent decline in TSPs results in a 0.5 percent decline in the infant mortality rate. Most of these effects are driven by a reduction in deaths occurring within one month of birth, suggesting that fetal exposure is a potential biological pathway. The results imply that roughly 1,300 fewer infants died in 1972 than would have in the absence of the Clean Air Act.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 63

Keywords: air pollution, clean air act, infant mortality, environmental regulations, benefits of regulation

JEL Classification: I12, I16, Q25

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Date posted: March 1, 2004  

Suggested Citation

Chay, Kenneth Y. and Greenstone, Michael, Air Quality, Infant Mortality, and the Clean Air Act of 1970 (August 2003). MIT Department of Economics Working Paper No. 04-08. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=509182 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.509182

Contact Information

Kenneth Y. Chay (Contact Author)
University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics ( email )
549 Evans Hall #3880
Berkeley, CA 94720-3880
United States
510-643-8596 (Phone)
510-642-0638 (Fax)
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Michael Greenstone
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics ( email )
50 Memorial Drive
E52-391
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
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