NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Do Housing Prices Reflect Environmental Health Risks? Evidence from More than 1600 Toxic Plant Openings and Closings

Janet Currie, Lucas Davis, Michael Greenstone, Reed Walker

NBER Working Paper No. 18700
Issued in January 2013
NBER Program(s):   CH   EEE   HC   HE   LS   PE

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.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w18700

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