Air Pollution During Pregnancy and Birth Outcomes in Italy

50 Pages Posted: 29 Jul 2019

See all articles by Alessandro Palma

Alessandro Palma

University of Rome Tor Vergata - Centre for International Studies on Economic Growth (CEIS); DISAE - Department of Business and Economics

Inna Petrunyk

Leuphana University of Lueneburg

Daniela Vuri

University of Rome Tor Vergata; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research)

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Date Written: July 2019

Abstract

We investigate the impact of fetal exposure to air pollution on health outcomes at birth in Italy in the 2000s combining information on mother’s residential location from birth certificates with information on PM10 concentrations from air quality monitors. The potential endogeneity deriving from differential pollution exposure is addressed by exploiting as-good-as-random variation in rainfall shocks as an instrumental variable for air pollution concentrations. Our results show that both average levels of PM10 and days above the hazard limit have detrimental effects on birth weight, duration of gestation as well as overall health status at birth. These effects are mainly driven by pollution exposure during the third trimester of pregnancy and further differ in size with respect to the maternal socio-economic status, suggesting that babies born to socially disadvantaged mothers are more vulnerable. Given the non negligible effects of pollution on birth outcomes, further policy efforts are needed to fully protect fetuses from the adverse effects of air pollution and to mitigate the environmental inequality of health at birth.

Keywords: air pollution, particulate matter, birth weight, pre-term birth, environmental policies

JEL Classification: I18, J13, Q53, Q58

Suggested Citation

Palma, Alessandro and Petrunyk, Inna and Vuri, Daniela, Air Pollution During Pregnancy and Birth Outcomes in Italy (July 2019). IZA Discussion Paper No. 12467. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3427605

Alessandro Palma (Contact Author)

University of Rome Tor Vergata - Centre for International Studies on Economic Growth (CEIS) ( email )

Via Columbia, 2
Rome, I-00133
Italy

DISAE - Department of Business and Economics ( email )

Italy

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/view/alessandropalma/home

Inna Petrunyk

Leuphana University of Lueneburg

Scharnhorststraße 1
Wilschenbrucher Weg 69
Lüneburg, 21335
Germany

Daniela Vuri

University of Rome Tor Vergata ( email )

Via di Tor Vergata
Rome, Lazio 00133
Italy

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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