When Particulate Matter Strikes Cities: Social Disparities and Health Costs of Air Pollution

65 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2019 Last revised: 8 Oct 2019

See all articles by Matilde Giaccherini

Matilde Giaccherini

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

Joanna Kopinska

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

Alessandro Palma

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

Date Written: August 1, 2019

Abstract

Socio-economic characteristics can determine large differentials in exposure and vulnerability to air pollution, generating environmental inequality. In this paper we investigate unequal effects of daily particulate matter (PM) concentrations on Italian hospitalizations by exploiting daily episodes of public transportation strikes as an instrumental variable for pollution exposure. We show that hospitalizations resulting from higher pollution are not only more likely to occur, but are also more complex to deal with. Moreover, our predictions show that conditional on PM exposure levels, hospitalization costs follow a strong socio-economic gradient, with the health burden being larger for the young, less educated individuals and migrants from low income countries. These inequality mechanisms imply that the effects of air pollution should be addressed not only by environmental and health actors, but should be coordinated with other sectors, such as education and transport, shaping a common policy approach.

Keywords: Health effects of air pollution, Environmental inequality, Public transportation strikes, Hospitalization costs

JEL Classification: I14, Q53, R41

Suggested Citation

Giaccherini, Matilde and Kopinska, Joanna and Palma, Alessandro, When Particulate Matter Strikes Cities: Social Disparities and Health Costs of Air Pollution (August 1, 2019). CEIS Working Paper No. 467. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3430573 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3430573

Matilde Giaccherini (Contact Author)

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

Via Columbia, 2
Rome, I-00133
Italy

Joanna Kopinska

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

Via Columbia, 2
Rome
Italy

Alessandro Palma

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

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