New evidence on the impact of sustained exposure to air pollution on life expectancy from China’s Huai River Policy

Avraham Ebenstein, Maoyong Fan, Michael Greenstone*, Guojun He, Maigeng Zhou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

475 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper finds that a 10-μg/m3 increase in airborne particulate matter [particulate matter smaller than 10 μm (PM10)] reduces life expectancy by 0.64 years (95% confidence interval = 0.21–1.07). This estimate is derived from quasiexperimental variation in PM10 generated by China’s Huai River Policy, which provides free or heavily subsidized coal for indoor heating during the winter to cities north of the Huai River but not to those to the south. The findings are derived from a regression discontinuity design based on distance from the Huai River, and they are robust to using parametric and nonparametric estimation methods, different kernel types and bandwidth sizes, and adjustment for a rich set of demographic and behavioral covariates. Furthermore, the shorter lifespans are almost entirely caused by elevated rates of cardiorespiratory mortality, suggesting that PM10 is the causal factor. The estimates imply that bringing all of China into compliance with its Class I standards for PM10 would save 3.7 billion life-years.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)10384-10389
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume114
Issue number39
DOIs
StatePublished - 26 Sep 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • Airborne particulate matter
  • China
  • Huai River
  • Life expectancy
  • Regression discontinuity

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'New evidence on the impact of sustained exposure to air pollution on life expectancy from China’s Huai River Policy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this