Traffic and Infant Health

Traffic and Infant Health - NBER WORKING PAPER SERIES...

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Unformatted text preview: NBER WORKING PAPER SERIES TRAFFIC CONGESTION AND INFANT HEALTH: EVIDENCE FROM E-ZPASS Janet Currie Reed Walker Working Paper 15413 http://www.nber.org/papers/w15413 NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138 October 2009 We thank Katherine Hempstead and Matthew Weinberg of the New Jersey Department of Health, and Craig Edelman of the Pennsylvania Department of Health for facilitating our access to the data. All opinions and any errors are our own. The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research. 2009 by Janet Currie and Reed Walker. All rights reserved. Short sections of text, not to exceed two paragraphs, may be quoted without explicit permission provided that full credit, including notice, is given to the source. Traffic Congestion and Infant Health: Evidence from E-ZPass Janet Currie and Reed Walker NBER Working Paper No. 15413 October 2009 JEL No. I12,Q51,Q53 ABSTRACT This paper provides evidence of the significant negative health externalities of traffic congestion. We exploit the introduction of electronic toll collection, or E-ZPass, which greatly reduced traffic congestion and emissions from motor vehicles in the vicinity of highway toll plazas. Specifically, we compare infants born to mothers living near toll plazas to infants born to mothers living near busy roadways but away from toll plazas with the idea that mothers living away from toll plazas did not experience significant reductions in local traffic congestion. We also examine differences in the health of infants born to the same mother, but who differ in terms of whether or not they were exposed to E-ZPass. We find that reductions in traffic congestion generated by E-ZPass reduced the incidence of prematurity and low birth weight among mothers within 2km of a toll plaza by 10.8% and 11.8% respectively. Estimates from mother fixed effects models are very similar. There were no immediate changes in the characteristics of mothers or in housing prices in the vicinity of toll plazas that could explain these changes, and the results are robust to many changes in specification. The results suggest that traffic congestion is a significant contributor to poor health in affected infants. Estimates of the costs of traffic congestion should account for these important health externalities. Janet Currie International Affairs Building Department of Economics Columbia University - Mail code 3308 420 W 118th Street New York, NY 10027 and NBER jc2663@columbia.edu Reed Walker Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Department of Economics Columbia University 1022 International Affairs Building New York, NY 10027 rw2157@columbia.edu Motor vehicles are a major source of air pollution. Nationally they are responsible for over 50% of carbon monoxide, 34 percent of nitrogen oxide (NO x ) and over 29 percent of hydrocarbon emissions in addition to as much as 10 percent of fine particulate matter emissions (Ernst et al., emissions in addition to as much as 10 percent of fine particulate matter emissions (Ernst et al....
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This note was uploaded on 12/26/2011 for the course ECON 245a taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '08 term at UCSB.

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Traffic and Infant Health - NBER WORKING PAPER SERIES...

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