The mortality and medical costs of air pollution: Evidence from changes in wind direction

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We estimate the causal effects of acute fine particulate matter exposure on mortality, health care use, and medical costs among the US elderly using Medicare data. We instrument for air pollution using changes in local wind direction and develop a new approach that uses machine learning to estimate the life-years lost due to pollution exposure. Finally, we characterize treatment effect heterogeneity using both life expectancy and generic machine learning inference. Both approaches find that mortality effects are concentrated in about 25 percent of the elderly population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4178-4219
Number of pages42
JournalAmerican Economic Review
Volume109
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics

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