Air Pollution, Health, and Avoidance Behavior: Evidence from South Korea

54 Pages Posted: 30 Apr 2019 Last revised: 23 Sep 2019

Date Written: August 8, 2019


Using detailed data on the beneficiaries of the Korean National Health Insurance Service (c.2006-2015), this paper estimates the health effects of air pollution in South Korea while controlling for avoidance behaviors. In particular, I investigate changes in the respiratory hospitalization rates due to increases in PM10 and O3 concentrations. To address the endogeneity of air pollution, this paper applies the historical average concentration of air pollution that includes rich information about the meteorological and geographical factors that affect regional air pollution levels as an instrumental variable and compares the results with other count data models. I find that a 10mg/m3 increase in PM10 and a 10ppb increase in O3 lead to an increase in daily respiratory hospital visits of up to 10.39% (95% confidence intervals (CI): 4.04--16.80) and 10.93% (95% CI: 9.23-12.63), which results in additional health care costs of $67 million USD and $70 million USD, respectively. This paper also shows that the effects of PM10 and O3 are greater in more populated cities, on children's health, and for non-chronic respiratory patients.

Keywords: Air Pollution, Avoidance Behavior, Hospital Admission

JEL Classification: I12, Q51, Q53

Suggested Citation

Kim, Moon Joon, Air Pollution, Health, and Avoidance Behavior: Evidence from South Korea (August 8, 2019). Available at SSRN: or

Moon Joon Kim (Contact Author)

Duke Kunshan University ( email )

No. 8 Duke Avenue
Kunshan, Jiangsu 215316


Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics