NBER Working Papers by Muzhe Yang

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Working Papers

November 2015Impacts of Being Downwind of a Coal-Fired Power Plant on Infant Health at Birth: Evidence from the Precedent-Setting Portland Rule
with Shin-Yi Chou: w21723
We conduct the first study on the impacts of prenatal exposure to a uniquely identified large polluter, a coal-fired power plant located near the border of two states, on the birth outcomes of the downwind state. For mothers who live as far as 20 to 40 miles away but downwind of the power plant, being exposed to power plant emissions, in particular sulfur dioxide, during the first month of pregnancy could increase the likelihood of having full-term babies but with low birth weight, an indicator of slow fetal growth, by as much as 42 percent. This adverse impact could be driven by reactive sulfur species-induced intrauterine oxidative stress, arising from maternal exposure to emissions of sulfur dioxide, whose travelling from the emission source to the downwind region has been confirmed in ...
July 2010Do Bad Report Cards Have Consequences? Impacts of Publicly Reported Provider Quality Information on the CABG Market in Pennsylvania
with Justin Wang, Jason Hockenberry, Shin-Yi Chou: w16225
Since 1992, the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4) has published cardiac care report cards for coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery providers. We examine the impact of CABG report cards on a provider's aggregate volume and volume by patient severity and then employ a mixed logit model to investigate the matching between patients and providers. We find a reduction in volume of poor performing and unrated surgeons' volume but no effect on more highly rated surgeons or hospitals of any rating. We also find that the probability that patients, regardless of severity of illness, receive CABG surgery from low-performing surgeons is significantly lower.

Published: Wang, Justin & Hockenberry, Jason & Chou, Shin-Yi & Yang, Muzhe, 2011. "Do bad report cards have consequences? Impacts of publicly reported provider quality information on the CABG market in Pennsylvania," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 392-407, March. citation courtesy of

May 2010Borders, Ethnicity and Trade
with Jenny C. Aker, Michael W. Klein, Stephen A. O'Connell: w15960
Do national borders and ethnicity contribute to market segmentation between and within countries? This paper uses unique and high-frequency data on narrowly-defined goods to gauge the extent to which a national border impedes trade between developing countries (Niger and Nigeria). Using a regression discontinuity approach, we find a significant price change at the national border, but one that is lower in magnitude than that found for industrialized countries. Yet unlike that literature, and in line with important characteristics of African economies, we investigate the role of ethnicity in mitigating and exacerbating the border effect. We find that a common ethnicity is linked to lower price dispersion across countries, yet ethnic diversity creates an internal border within Niger. The pri...

Published: Aker, Jenny C. & Klein, Michael W. & O'Connell, Stephen A. & Yang, Muzhe, 2014. "Borders, ethnicity and trade," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 1-16. citation courtesy of

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