The Mortality and Medical Costs of Air Pollution: Evidence from Changes in Wind Direction

105 Pages Posted: 8 Nov 2016

See all articles by Tatyana Deryugina

Tatyana Deryugina

University of Illinois

Garth Heutel

Georgia State University

Nolan H. Miller

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

David Molitor

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Julian Reif

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Date Written: November 2016

Abstract

We estimate the causal effects of acute fine particulate matter exposure on mortality, health care use, and medical costs among the US elderly using Medicare data and a novel instrument for air pollution: changes in local wind direction. We develop a new approach that uses machine learning to estimate the life-years lost due to pollution exposure and show that our procedure reduces bias relative to previous methods. Finally, we characterize treatment effect heterogeneity using both life expectancy and generic machine learning inference. Both approaches find that mortality effects are concentrated in about 25 percent of the elderly population.

Suggested Citation

Deryugina, Tatyana and Heutel, Garth and Miller, Nolan and Molitor, David and Reif, Julian, The Mortality and Medical Costs of Air Pollution: Evidence from Changes in Wind Direction (November 2016). NBER Working Paper No. w22796. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2865534

Tatyana Deryugina (Contact Author)

University of Illinois ( email )

1206 South Sixth Street
Champaign, IL 61820
United States

HOME PAGE: http://deryugina.com

Garth Heutel

Georgia State University ( email )

Nolan Miller

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ( email )

1206 South Sixth Street
Champaign, IL 61820
United States
1-217-244-2847 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.business.illinois.edu/nmiller

David Molitor

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ( email )

601 E John St
Champaign, IL 61820
United States

Julian Reif

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ( email )

601 E John St
Champaign, IL 61820
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.julianreif.com

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