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When particulate matter strikes cities: Social disparities and health costs of air pollution

Matilde Giaccherini, Joanna Kopinska () and Alessandro Palma ()

Journal of Health Economics, 2021, vol. 78, issue C

Abstract: We investigate the heterogeneous effects of particle pollution on Italian daily hospitalizations and their costs by exploiting public transportation strikes as plausibly-exogenous shocks in pollution exposure. We find that a one standard deviation increase in PM10 causes additional 0.79 hospitalizations per 100,000 residents, and the effect is stronger for the elderly, low educated individuals and migrants. Furthermore, we find that young individuals, an arguably healthy age group, exhibit economically meaningful responses to air pollution with an effect ranging between 0.45 and 1.04. Our results imply a large role of avoidance behavior driving heterogeneous marginal health effects. Total daily costs of a one standard deviation increase in PM10 represent 0.5% of the total daily health expenditure, and 85% of this additional spending comes from more patients hospitalized, while the remaining 15% can be attributable to more costly, and likely more complex, hospitalizations.

Keywords: Health effects of air pollution; Public transportation strikes; Hospitalization costs; Environmental inequality (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I14 Q53 R41 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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Working Paper: When Particulate Matter Strikes Cities: Social Disparities and Health Costs of Air Pollution (2020) Downloads
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2021.102478

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