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American Economic Journal: Applied Economics: Vol. 3 No. 1 (January 2011)

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Traffic Congestion and Infant Health: Evidence from E-ZPass

Article Citation

Currie, Janet, and Reed Walker. 2011. "Traffic Congestion and Infant Health: Evidence from E-ZPass." American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 3(1): 65-90.

DOI: 10.1257/app.3.1.65

Abstract

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 2 kilometers (km) of a toll plaza by 10.8 percent and 11.8 percent, respectively, relative to mothers 2-10 km 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. (JEL I12, J13, Q51, Q53, R41)

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Authors

Currie, Janet (Columbia U)
Walker, Reed (Columbia U)

JEL Classifications

I12: Health Production
J13: Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
Q51: Valuation of Environmental Effects
Q53: Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
R41: Transportation: Demand, Supply, and Congestion; Safety and Accidents; Transportation Noise

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