Congestion Pricing, Air Pollution and Children’s Health
This study examines the effects of a congestion tax in central Stockholm on ambient air pollution and the health of local children. We demonstrate that the tax reduced ambient air pollution by 5–15 percent and the rate of acute asthma attacks among young children. We do not see corresponding changes in accidents or hospitalizations for nonrespiratory conditions. As the change in health was more gradual than the change in pollution, it may take time for the full health effects of changes in pollution to materialize if the mechanism is pollution. Hence, short-run estimates of pollution reduction programs may understate long-run health benefits.
We would like to thank Nicholas Sanders and participants at the 2017 AEA meetings, as well as seminar participants at Karolinska Institute, Uppsala University, the Institute for International Economic Studies, University of Oslo, University of Bergen, University of Umea, and the Stockholm School of Economics. We are grateful to three anonymous referees for helpful comments. We gratefully acknowledge financial support from the Swedish Research Council. Jenny Jans provided invaluable help as a research assistant for this project. The data used in this study are confidential and protected by Swedish privacy laws. They cannot be accessed by anyone not approved under the original data agreement signed by the authors. The data can be purchased from Statistics Sweden, the Swedish National Board for Health and Welfare, and the Swedish Tax registry after the appropriate ethics and privacy board approvals have been secured from these agencies. Dr. Simeonova and Nilsson are willing to assist those interested in purchasing registry data. The authors have no financial conflicts of interest to disclose. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
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