Same Environment, Stratified Impacts? Air Pollution, Extreme Temperatures, and Birth Weight in South China

61 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2021 Last revised: 25 Oct 2021

See all articles by Xiaoying Liu

Xiaoying Liu

University of Pennsylvania

Jere Behrman

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics

Emily Hannum

University of Pennsylvania

Fan Wang

University of Houston - Department of Economics

Qingguo Zhao

Guangdong Institute of Family Planning Science and Technology; Family Planning Special Hospital of Guangdong; National Health Committee of China (NHCC) - Key Laboratory of Male Reproduction and Genetics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: October 24, 2021

Abstract

This paper investigates whether associations between birth weight and prenatal ambient environmental conditions--pollution and extreme temperatures--are mediated by 1) inequality in socioeconomic endowments measured by maternal education; 2) inequality in children's innate health endowments; and 3) interactions between these two dimensions of inequalities. We link birth records from Guangzhou, China, during a period of high pollution, to ambient air pollution (PM10 and a composite measure) and extreme temperature data. We first use mean regressions to test whether, overall, maternal education is an "effect modifier" in the relationships between ambient air pollution, extreme temperature, and birth weight. We then use conditional quantile regressions to test for effect heterogeneity according to the unobserved innate vulnerability of babies after conditioning on other confounders. The results show that 1) the negative association between ambient exposures and birth weight is twice as large at lower conditional quantiles of birth weight as at the median; 2) the protection associated with a college-educated mother with respect to pollution and extreme heat is substantial: up to 0.34 standard deviations of birth weight; 3) this protection is amplified under more extreme ambient conditions and for infants with greater unobserved innate vulnerabilities.

Keywords: air pollution, birth weight, maternal education, extreme temperatures, China

JEL Classification: I14, J1, Q53, Q54

Suggested Citation

Liu, Xiaoying and Behrman, Jere R. and Hannum, Emily and Wang, Fan and Zhao, Qingguo, Same Environment, Stratified Impacts? Air Pollution, Extreme Temperatures, and Birth Weight in South China (October 24, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3759319 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3759319

Xiaoying Liu

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

PA
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.pop.upenn.edu/bio/xiaoying-liu

Jere R. Behrman

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics ( email )

Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science
133 South 36th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6297
United States
215-898-7704 (Phone)
215-573-2057 (Fax)

Emily Hannum

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

PA
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.pop.upenn.edu/bio/emily-hannum

Fan Wang (Contact Author)

University of Houston - Department of Economics ( email )

Houston, TX 77204-5882
United States

HOME PAGE: http://fanwangecon.github.io

Qingguo Zhao

Guangdong Institute of Family Planning Science and Technology ( email )

Guangzhou
China

Family Planning Special Hospital of Guangdong ( email )

Guangzhou
China

National Health Committee of China (NHCC) - Key Laboratory of Male Reproduction and Genetics ( email )

Guangzhou
China

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