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The Heath Implications of Unconventional Natural Gas Development in Pennsylvania

Lizhong Peng, Chad Meyerhoefer and Shin-Yi Chou

No 235745, 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, Boston, Massachusetts from Agricultural and Applied Economics Association

Abstract: We investigate the health impacts of unconventional natural gas development of Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania between 2001 and 2013 by merging well permit data from Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection with a database of all inpatient hospital admissions. Through a difference-in-differences regression analysis that compares changes in hospitalization rates over time for air pollution-sensitive disease in counties with unconventional gas wells to changes in hospitalization rates in non-well counties, we find significant associations between shale gas development and hospitalizations for acute myocardial infarction (AMI), pneumonia, and upper respiratory infections (URI). In particular, we find that county-level hospitalization rates for AMI among young adults (aged 20-44) increased by 24 percent due to shale gas development. Hospitalizations for pneumonia and URI also increased by 8.5 percent and 17 percent, respectively, among the elderly. These adverse effects on health are consistent with higher levels of air pollution resulting from unconventional natural gas development.

Keywords: Community/Rural/Urban Development; Environmental Economics and Policy; Health Economics and Policy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 33
Date: 2016-05
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ene and nep-env
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Journal Article: The health implications of unconventional natural gas development in Pennsylvania (2018) Downloads
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DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.235745

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