Outdoor Air Pollution and Mortality: the Evidence From the Czech Republic

University essay from Lunds universitet/Ekonomisk-historiska institutionen

Abstract: Outdoor air pollution is generally recognized as a serious environmental risk factor of premature mortality. The main aim of this thesis is to examine how changes in fine particulate air pollution (PM 2.5 ) account for changes in selected mortality indicators, using empirical evidence from 45 districts in the Czech Republic. Besides the impact on changes in life expectancy, a special emphasis was placed on changes in age-specific and cause-specific mortality. First-difference models were used for empirical testing. While no statistically significant effects were found for changes in life expectancy at birth (and at the age of 65) and for changes in mortality during the first year of life as well as at the age of 65+, the reduction in fine particulate air pollution affected significantly the distribution of deaths by selected causes. More specifically, a 10% drop in the concentration of PM 2.5 was estimated to decrease the share of deaths on cardiovascular diseases by 0.9 percentage points. On the other hand, with the same reduction in fine particulate air pollution, the share of deaths on respiratory diseases and lung cancer was predicted to increase by 0.4 percentage points and 0.1 percentage points, respectively. With the exception of changes in the share of deaths on respiratory diseases, there was no evidence that the effect of fine particulate air pollution or returns to its reduction differs between districts with improved air quality and those whose air conditions deteriorated.

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