Traffic Noise in Georgia: Sound Levels and Inequality

39 Pages Posted: 28 Jan 2019 Last revised: 21 Feb 2019

See all articles by Jeffrey Cohen

Jeffrey Cohen

University of Connecticut - School of Business

Cletus C. Coughlin

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis - Research Division

Jonas Crews

Federal Reserve Banks - Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Date Written: 2018-09-16

Abstract

Using Lorenz-type curves, means tests, ordinary least squares, and locally weighted regressions (LWR), we examine the relative burdens of whites, blacks, and Hispanics in Georgia from road and air traffic noise. We find that whites bear less noise than either blacks or Hispanics and that blacks tend to experience more traffic noise than Hispanics. While every Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) showed that blacks experienced relatively more noise than average, such a result did not hold for Hispanics in roughly half of the MSAs. We find much heterogeneity across Census tracts using LWR. For most Census tracts, higher black and Hispanic population shares are associated with increased noise. However, 5.5 percent of the coefficients for blacks and 18.9 percent for Hispanics are negative, suggesting larger population shares are associated with less noise. The noise LWR marginal effects for black populations across most tracts in the state are consistent with diminishing marginal noise from additional black population, while those in Atlanta exhibit diminishing marginal noise for Hispanics. In many regions of the state where the potential for health-damaging noise exists, we find relatively high disproportionality in noise experienced by the black and Hispanic populations compared to the rest of the overall population. Our findings underscore the importance of using nonparametric estimation approaches to unveil spatial heterogeneity in applied urban and housing economics analyses.

Keywords: traffic noise, Lorenz curves, nonparametric regressions

JEL Classification: C25, Q53, R41

Suggested Citation

Cohen, Jeffrey and Coughlin, Cletus C. and Crews, Jonas, Traffic Noise in Georgia: Sound Levels and Inequality (2018-09-16). FRB St. Louis Working Paper No. 2019-4. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3323251 or http://dx.doi.org/10.20955/wp.2019.004

Jeffrey Cohen (Contact Author)

University of Connecticut - School of Business ( email )

368 Fairfield Road
Storrs, CT 06269-2041
United States

Cletus C. Coughlin

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis - Research Division ( email )

411 Locust St
Saint Louis, MO 63011
United States

Jonas Crews

Federal Reserve Banks - Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

411 Locust St
Saint Louis, MO 63011
United States

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