Bringing Satellite-Based Air Quality Estimates Down to Earth
We use state-of-the-art, satellite-based PM2.5 estimates to assess the extent to which the EPA's existing, monitor-based measurements over- or under-estimate true exposure to PM2.5 pollution. Treating satellite-based estimates as truth implies a substantial number of "policy errors"—over-regulating areas that comply with air quality standards and under-regulating other areas that appear to violate standards. We investigate the health implications of these apparent errors and highlight the importance of accounting for prediction error in satellite-based estimates. Uncertainty in "policy errors" increases substantially when we account for these underlying prediction errors.
We thank both Qian Di and Aaron van Donkelaar for sharing their high-resolution, satellite-based PM2.5 estimates. We thank Ellen Lin and Catherine Wright for extraordinarily helpful research assistance. Financial support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is gratefully acknowledged. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Meredith Fowlie & Edward Rubin & Reed Walker, 2019. "Bringing Satellite-Based Air Quality Estimates Down to Earth," AEA Papers and Proceedings, vol 109, pages 283-288. citation courtesy of