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New Evidence on the Impact of Sustained Exposure to Air Pollution on Life Expectancy from China's Huai

80 Pages Posted: 13 Sep 2017  

Avraham Ebenstein

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Department of Economics

Maoyong Fan

Ball State University - Department of Economics

Michael Greenstone

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

Guojun He

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Maigeng Zhou

Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Date Written: September 11, 2017

Abstract

This paper finds that a 10 μg/m3 increase in airborne particulate matter (PM10) reduces life expectancy by 0.64 years (95% CI: 0.21, 1.07). This estimate is derived from quasi-experimental variation in PM10 generated by China’s Huai River Policy, which provides free or heavily subsidized coal for indoor heating during the winter to cities north of the Huai River but not to the south. The findings are derived from a regression discontinuity design based on distance from the Huai River, and are robust to using parametric and non-parametric estimation methods, different kernel types and bandwidth sizes, and adjustment for a rich set of demographic and behavioral covariates. Furthermore, the shorter lifespans are almost entirely due to elevated rates of cardiorespiratory mortality, suggesting that PM10 is the causal factor. The estimates imply that bringing all of China into compliance with its Class I standards for PM10 would save 3.7 billion life years.

JEL Classification: I15, I18, Q53, Q58

Suggested Citation

Ebenstein, Avraham and Fan, Maoyong and Greenstone, Michael and He, Guojun and Zhou, Maigeng, New Evidence on the Impact of Sustained Exposure to Air Pollution on Life Expectancy from China's Huai (September 11, 2017). Becker Friedman Institute for Research in Economics Working Paper No. 2017-11. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3035524

Avraham Ebenstein (Contact Author)

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Department of Economics ( email )

Israel

Maoyong Fan

Ball State University - Department of Economics ( email )

Whitinger Business Building, room 201
2000 W. University Ave.
Muncie, IN 47306-0340
United States
765-285-5741 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/maoyongfan/home

Michael Greenstone

University of Chicago - Department of Economics ( email )

1126 East 59th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Guojun He

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology ( email )

Division of Social Science
HKUST
Clear Water Bay, Kowloon
Hong Kong

Maigeng Zhou

Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention ( email )

155 Changbai Road
Changping District
Beijing, 102206
China

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