Putting a price tag on air pollution: the social healthcare costs of air pollution in France

Julia Mink (Sciences Po - Paris)

January 14, 2022, 14:00–15:30


Room online

Job Market Seminar


I estimate the causal effects of air pollution on healthcare costs in France by combining administrative data on healthcare reimbursements with reanalysis data on air pollution concentrations and weather conditions. I adopt an instrumental variable approach where I exploit daily postcode-level variation in nitrogen dioxide, ground-level ozone and particulate matter concentrations induced by variation in wind speed. I explore effect heterogeneity by patient and location characteristics and by medical speciality. This study presents evidence for substantial healthcare costs caused by exposure to pollution levels that are predominantly situated below current European legal limits. The effects are several orders of magnitude larger than those estimated in the previous literature, suggesting that the healthcare costs of air pollution have been severely underestimated. I find significant heterogeneity of effects across location and patient characteristics, indicating that air pollution reduction policies have the potential to reduce health inequalities.