"Placebo Tests" for the Impacts of Air Pollution on Health: The Challenge of Limited Healthcare Infrastructure

10 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2021

See all articles by Bruna Guidetti

Bruna Guidetti

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

Paula Pereda

FEA USP

Edson Severnini

Carnegie Mellon University

Abstract

When examining the impacts of exposure to air pollution on health outcomes, researchers usually carry out "placebo tests" to provide evidence in support of their identification assumption. In general, this exercise targets health conditions seemingly unrelated to air pollution. In this study, we argue that one should proceed with caution when running such falsification tests. If healthcare infrastructure is limited, when we observe health shocks such as those driven by air pollution, the infrastructure needs to be adjusted to meet the increased demand by canceling or rescheduling elective and non-urgent procedures, for example. As a result, even health conditions seemingly unrelated to air pollution may be indirectly affected by pollution.

JEL Classification: I15, Q53, Q56, O13

Suggested Citation

Guidetti, Bruna and Pereda, Paula and Severnini, Edson, "Placebo Tests" for the Impacts of Air Pollution on Health: The Challenge of Limited Healthcare Infrastructure. IZA Discussion Paper No. 14080, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3775985 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3775985

Bruna Guidetti (Contact Author)

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

Paula Pereda

FEA USP ( email )

São Paulo
Brazil

Edson Severnini

Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States

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