Bringing Satellite-Based Air Quality Estimates Down to Earth

13 Pages Posted: 19 Feb 2019

See all articles by Meredith Fowlie

Meredith Fowlie

University of California, Berkeley

Edward Rubin

University of Oregon

Reed Walker

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: February 2019

Abstract

We use state-of-the-art, satellite-based PM2.5 estimates to assess the extent to which the EPA's existing, monitor-based measurements over- or under-estimate true exposure to PM2.5 pollution. Treating satellite-based estimates as truth implies a substantial number of "policy errors"—over-regulating areas that comply with air quality standards and under-regulating other areas that appear to violate standards. We investigate the health implications of these apparent errors and highlight the importance of accounting for prediction error in satellite-based estimates. Uncertainty in "policy errors" increases substantially when we account for these underlying prediction errors.

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Suggested Citation

Fowlie, Meredith and Rubin, Edward and Walker, Reed, Bringing Satellite-Based Air Quality Estimates Down to Earth (February 2019). NBER Working Paper No. w25560. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3336512

Meredith Fowlie (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley ( email )

310 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

Edward Rubin

University of Oregon ( email )

Eugene, OR 97403
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://edrub.in

Reed Walker

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business ( email )

545 Student Services Building
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

HOME PAGE: http://faculty.haas.berkeley.edu/rwalker/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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