Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/223673
Authors: 
Persico, Claudia
Johnson, Kathryn R.
Year of Publication: 
2020
Series/Report no.: 
IZA Discussion Papers No. 13231
Abstract: 
The COVID-19 virus, also known as the coronavirus, is currently spreading around the world. While a growing literature suggests that exposure to pollution can cause respiratory illness and increase deaths among the elderly, little is known about whether increases in pollution could cause additional or more severe infections from COVID-19, which typically manifests as a respiratory infection. Using variation in pollution induced by a rollback of enforcement of environmental regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and a difference in differences design, we estimate the effects of increased pollution on county-level COVID-19 deaths and cases. Despite popular media coverage to the contrary, we find that counties with more Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) sites saw increases in pollution following the EPA's rollback of enforcement, while counties with fewer sites saw a smaller increase in pollution. We find that increases in pollution are associated with increases in cases and deaths from COVID-19.
Subjects: 
pollution
COVID-19
coronavirus
health
mortality
JEL: 
Q53
I10
I14
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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