(E3 ) Working Papers Series
E3 Working Paper WP-010 Abstract
WP-010: Christopher R. Knittel, Douglas Miller, and Nicholas J. Sanders, "Caution, drivers! Children present. Traffic, pollution, and infant health" (June 2011) Full Paper
Since the Clean Air Act Amendment of 1990 (CAAA), the atmospheric concentration of local pollutants has fallen drastically. A natural question is whether further reductions will yield additional health benefits. We add to understanding of this issue by addressing two related research questions: (1) What is the impact of automobile driving (and especially congestion) on ambient air pollution levels; and (2) what is the impact of modern air pollution levels on infant health? Our setting is California (with a focus on the Central Valley and Southern California) in the years 2002-2007. Using an instrumental variables approach that exploits the relationship between traffic, ambient weather conditions, and various pollutants, our findings suggest that ambient pollution levels, specifically particulate matter, still have large impacts on weekly infant mortality rates.