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Clean energy adoption and maternal health: Evidence from China

Yangjie Wang, Xiaohong Chen and Shenggang Ren

Energy Economics, 2019, vol. 84, issue C

Abstract: Maternal mortality in China decreased 59% during 2000–2014, while clean energy consumption nearly doubled. This paper examines how the widespread adoption of natural gas as a source of clean energy improves the health of pregnant women, an environment-sensitive group often ignored in previous pollution studies. Using variation across provinces and over time in the density of natural gas infrastructure in China, we identify a significant and negative clean energy adoption – maternal mortality relationship in China. Specifically, we find that a one-unit increase in natural gas density – measured by the length of natural gas pipelines per 10,000 persons – would cause the maternal mortality rate to decrease by 4%, which would translate into an annual gain of approximately 648 pregnant women’s lives. We also present several additional specification checks and find that the results are insensitive to these considerations. This finding suggests that natural gas adoption has substantial health externalities and should be an important part of policy discussions surrounding clean energy production. To our knowledge, this is the first study to draw a causal link between clean energy use and maternal mortality.

Keywords: Clean energy; Air pollution; Natural gas; Maternal mortality; China (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1016/j.eneco.2019.104517

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