Does Animal Feeding Operation Pollution Hurt Public Health? A National Longitudinal Study of Health Externalities Identified by Geographic Shifts in Livestock Production

14 Pages Posted: 28 Apr 2020

See all articles by Stacy Sneeringer

Stacy Sneeringer

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS)

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Date Written: February 2009

Abstract

The Environmental Protection Agency is currently gathering data to regulate livestock facilities under the Clean Air Act, legislation that purports to protect public health. To set rational policy, estimates of health externalities associated with livestock farming are necessary. This study uses geographic shifts in the industry to measure the impact of pollution on infant health. The article finds that a doubling of production leads to a 7.4% increase in infant mortality. This finding is robust with respect to the inclusion of multiple fixed and time‐varying controls. The mortality increases are driven by elevated levels of respiratory diseases, providing suggestive evidence of an air pollution mechanism.

Keywords: externalities, livestock, pollution, public health

Suggested Citation

Sneeringer, Stacy, Does Animal Feeding Operation Pollution Hurt Public Health? A National Longitudinal Study of Health Externalities Identified by Geographic Shifts in Livestock Production (February 2009). American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Vol. 91, Issue 1, pp. 124-137, 2009, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3584703 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8276.2008.01161.x

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