Indoor Air Quality, Information, and Socio-Economic Status: Evidence from Delhi

11 Pages Posted: 19 Jan 2021

See all articles by Michael Greenstone

Michael Greenstone

University of Chicago - Department of Economics; Becker Friedman Institute for Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Kenneth Lee

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics

Harshil Sahai

University of Chicago - Department of Economics

Date Written: January 14, 2021

Abstract

Delhi faces some of the world’s highest concentrations of PM2.5, the most damaging form of air pollution. Although awareness of outdoor air pollution is rising across the world, there is limited information on indoor air pollution (IAP) levels, particularly in heavily polluted cities like Delhi. Even less evidence exists on how IAP varies by socio-economic status (SES), and whether or not addressing information gaps can change defensive investments against IAP. In this paper, we deploy Indoor Air Quality Monitors (IAQMs) in thousands of Delhi households across varying socio-economic strata in order to document IAP levels during the peak wintertime air pollution period. Across high and low SES households, we document indoor PM2.5 levels that are: (1) extraordinarily high — more than 20 times World Health Organization (WHO) standards; (2) only 10 percent lower in high (versus low) SES households; and (3) significantly higher than levels reported by the nearest, outdoor government monitors, the main source of public information on air pollution in this setting. We then report on a field experiment that randomly assigned IAQMs, as well as an opportunity to rent an air purifier at a subsidized price, across medium and high SES homes during the 2019-20 winter season.

Suggested Citation

Greenstone, Michael and Lee, Kenneth and Sahai, Harshil, Indoor Air Quality, Information, and Socio-Economic Status: Evidence from Delhi (January 14, 2021). University of Chicago, Becker Friedman Institute for Economics Working Paper No. 2021-06, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3767009 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3767009

Michael Greenstone (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Department of Economics

1126 East 59th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Becker Friedman Institute for Economics ( email )

Chicago, IL 60637
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
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Kenneth Lee

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics ( email )

Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

Harshil Sahai

University of Chicago - Department of Economics ( email )

1101 East 58th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

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