Economics at your fingertips  

The effects of increased pollution on COVID-19 cases and deaths

Claudia Persico () and Kathryn R. Johnson

Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 2021, vol. 107, issue C

Abstract: The SARS-COV-2 virus, also known as the coronavirus, has spread around the world. A growing literature suggests that exposure to pollution can cause respiratory illness and increase deaths among the elderly. However, little is known about whether increases in pollution could cause additional or more severe infections from COVID-19, which typically manifests as a respiratory infection. During the pandemic, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rolled back enforcement of environmental regulation, causing an increase in pollution in counties with more TRI sites. We use the variation in pollution and a difference in differences design to estimate the effects of increased pollution on county-level COVID-19 deaths and cases. We find that counties with more Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) sites saw a 11.8 percent increase in pollution on average following the EPA’s rollback of enforcement, compared to counties with fewer TRI sites. We also find that these policy-induced increases in pollution are associated with a 53 percent increase in cases and a 10.6 percent increase in deaths from COVID-19.

Keywords: Pollution; Regulation; Health; COVID-19 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I10 I14 Q53 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (3) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

DOI: 10.1016/j.jeem.2021.102431

Access Statistics for this article

Journal of Environmental Economics and Management is currently edited by M.A. Cole, A. Lange, D.J. Phaneuf, D. Popp, M.J. Roberts, M.D. Smith, C. Timmins, Q. Weninger and A.J. Yates

More articles in Journal of Environmental Economics and Management from Elsevier
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Catherine Liu ().

Page updated 2022-09-25
Handle: RePEc:eee:jeeman:v:107:y:2021:i:c:s0095069621000140