Air Pollution and Infant Health: Lessons from New Jersey

43 Pages Posted: 4 Aug 2008 Last revised: 17 Apr 2022

See all articles by Janet Currie

Janet Currie

Princeton University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Matthew Neidell

Columbia University; University of Chicago - Department of Economics and CISES; PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

Johannes F. Schmieder

Boston University - Department of Economics; IZA; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: July 2008

Abstract

We examine the impact of three "criteria" air pollutants on infant health in New Jersey in the 1990s by combining information about mother's residential location from birth certificates with information from air quality monitors. In addition to large sample size, our work offers three important innovations: First, because we know the exact addresses of mothers, we select those mothers closest to air monitors to ensure a more accurate measure of air quality. Second, since we follow mothers over time, we control for unobserved characteristics of mothers using maternal fixed effects. Third, we examine interactions of air pollution with smoking and other predictors of poor infant health outcomes. We find consistently negative effects of exposure to pollution, especially carbon monoxide, both during and after birth. The effects are considerably larger for smokers than for nonsmokers as well as for older mothers. Since automobiles are the main source of carbon monoxide emissions, our results have important implications for regulation of automobile emissions.

Suggested Citation

Currie, Janet and Neidell, Matthew and Schmieder, Johannes F., Air Pollution and Infant Health: Lessons from New Jersey (July 2008). NBER Working Paper No. w14196, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1179866

Janet Currie (Contact Author)

Princeton University ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://www.princeton.edu/~jcurrie

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Matthew Neidell

Columbia University ( email )

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Johannes F. Schmieder

Boston University - Department of Economics ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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