Why are Pollution Damages Lower in Developed Countries? Insights from High-Income, High-Particulate Matter Hong Kong

66 Pages Posted: 11 Aug 2021

See all articles by Jonathan Colmer

Jonathan Colmer

University of Virginia

Dajun Lin

University of Virginia - Department of Economics

Siying Liu

Amazon.com

Jay Shimshack

University of Virginia - Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy

Abstract

Conventional wisdom suggests that marginal damages from particulate matter pollution are high in less-developed countries because they are highly polluted. Using administrative data on the universe of births and deaths, we explore birthweight and mortality effects of gestational particulate matter exposure in high-pollution yet high-income Hong Kong. The marginal effects of particulates on birthweight are large but we fail to detect an effect on neonatal mortality. We interpret our stark mortality results in a comparative analysis of pollution-mortality relationships across studies. We provide early evidence that marginal mortality damages from pollution are high in less-developed countries because they are less developed, not because they are more polluted.

JEL Classification: Q53, I15, Q56

Suggested Citation

Colmer, Jonathan and Lin, Dajun and Liu, Siying and Shimshack, Jay, Why are Pollution Damages Lower in Developed Countries? Insights from High-Income, High-Particulate Matter Hong Kong. IZA Discussion Paper No. 14591, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3900853 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3900853

Jonathan Colmer (Contact Author)

University of Virginia ( email )

1400 University Ave
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States

Dajun Lin

University of Virginia - Department of Economics ( email )

237 Monroe Hall
P.O. Box 400182
Charlottesville, VA 22904-418
United States

Siying Liu

Amazon.com ( email )

Seattle, WA 98144
United States

Jay Shimshack

University of Virginia - Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy ( email )

235 McCormick Rd.
P.O. Box 400893
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4893
United States

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