NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Reed Walker

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Working Papers

January 2014Every Breath You Take – Every Dollar You’ll Make: The Long-Term Consequences of the Clean Air Act of 1970
with Adam Isen, Maya Rossin-Slater: w19858
This paper examines the long-term impacts of in-utero and early childhood exposure to ambient air pollution on adult labor market outcomes. We take advantage of a new administrative data set that is uniquely suited for addressing this question because it combines information on individuals' quarterly earnings together with their counties and dates of birth. We use the sharp changes in ambient air pollution concentrations driven by the implementation of the 1970 Clean Air Act Amendments as a source of identifying variation, and we compare cohorts born in counties that experienced large changes in total suspended particulate (TSP) exposure to cohorts born in counties that had minimal or no changes. We find a significant relationship between TSP exposure in the year of birth and adult labor m...
January 2013Do Housing Prices Reflect Environmental Health Risks? Evidence from More than 1600 Toxic Plant Openings and Closings
with Janet Currie, Lucas Davis, Michael Greenstone: w18700
A ubiquitous and largely unquestioned assumption in studies of housing markets is that there is perfect information about local amenities. This paper measures the housing market and health impacts of 1,600 openings and closings of industrial plants that emit toxic pollutants. We find that housing values within one mile decrease by 1.5 percent when plants open, and increase by 1.5 percent when plants close. This implies an aggregate loss in housing values per plant of about $1.5 million. While the housing value impacts are concentrated within 1/2 mile, we find statistically significant infant health impacts up to one mile away.
December 2011Airports, Air Pollution, and Contemporaneous Health
with Wolfram Schlenker: w17684
Airports are some of the largest sources of air pollution in the United States. We demonstrate that daily airport runway congestion contributes significantly to local pollution levels and contemporaneous health of residents living nearby and downwind from airports. Our research design exploits the fact that network delays originating from large airports on the East Coast increase runway congestion in California, which in turn increases daily pollution levels around California airports. Using the component of California air pollution driven by airport congestion, we find that carbon monoxide (CO) leads to significant increases in hospitalization rates for asthma, respiratory, and heart related emergency room admissions that are an order of magnitude larger than conventional estimates: A one...
October 2009Traffic Congestion and Infant Health: Evidence from E-ZPass
with Janet Currie: w15413
We exploit the introduction of electronic toll collection, (E-ZPass), which greatly reduced both traffic congestion and vehicle emissions near highway toll plazas. We show that the introduction of E-ZPass reduced prematurity and low birth weight among mothers within 2km of a toll plaza by 10.8% and 11.8% respectively relative to mothers 2-10km from a toll plaza. There were no immediate changes in the characteristics of mothers or in housing prices near toll plazas that could explain these changes. The results are robust to many changes in specification and suggest that traffic congestion contributes significantly to poor health among infants.

Published: Janet Currie & Reed Walker, 2011. "Traffic Congestion and Infant Health: Evidence from E-ZPass," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 65-90, January. citation courtesy of

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