Air Pollution and Infant Health: What Can We Learn from California's Recent Experience

50 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2004 Last revised: 23 Oct 2013

See all articles by Janet Currie

Janet Currie

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); Princeton University

Matthew Neidell

Columbia University; University of Chicago - Department of Economics and CISES; PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

Date Written: January 2004

Abstract

We examine the impact of air pollution on infant death in California over the 1990s. Our work offers several innovations: First, many previous studies examine populations subject to far greater levels of pollution. In contrast, the experience of California in the 1990s is clearly relevant to current debates over the regulation of pollution. Second, many studies examine a few routinely monitored pollutants in isolation, generally because of data limitations. We examine four criteria' pollutants in a common framework. Third, we develop an identification strategy based on within zip code variation in pollution levels that controls for potentially important unobserved characteristics of high pollution areas. Fourth, we use rich individual-level data to investigate effects of pollution on infant mortality, fetal deaths, low birth weight and prematurity in a common framework. We find that the reductions in carbon monoxide (CO) and particulates (PM10) over the 1990s in California saved over 1,000 infant lives. However, we find little consistent evidence of pollution effects on fetal deaths, low birth weight or short gestation.

Suggested Citation

Currie, Janet and Neidell, Matthew, Air Pollution and Infant Health: What Can We Learn from California's Recent Experience (January 2004). NBER Working Paper No. w10251. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=492364

Janet Currie (Contact Author)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Princeton University ( email )

Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States
6092587393 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.princeton.edu/~jcurrie

Matthew Neidell

Columbia University ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

University of Chicago - Department of Economics and CISES ( email )

1126 East 59th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

2048 Analysis Drive
Suite A
Bozeman, MT 59718
United States

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