Environmental Economics

An Economic Analysis of Air Pollution and Health: The Case of St. Louis, Volume VI of Methods Development in Measuring Benefits of Environmental Improvements

This report develops a new methodology for estimating the benefits of reduced human morbidity stemming from improved air pollution control and tests that methodology using data from adult residents of St. Louis, MO, and air pollution information from the Regional Air Pollution Study. This data is described in two other reports in this database, The Human Morbidity Costs of Air Pollution in St. Louis (1978), and St. Louis Pollution-Morbidity Study (1984). The empirical results support the hypothesis that reduced ambient ozone levels will reduce human morbidity. Marginal compensating differential type benefits estimates for various percentage reductions in ozone concentrations are computed based on these results.

The report is organized into the following chapters:

    1. Introduction
    2. Literature review
    3. A Simple Health Model
    4. The St. Louis Health and Air Quality Data
    5. A Comparison of Alternative Sources of Air Quality Data
    6. Empirical Estimation of the Model

These are followed by the following appendices:
    1. Health Effects of Ozone on Humans
    2. Human Health Effects of Lead
    3. Data Base Documentation.

This study was part of a larger research effort that included a number of projects focusing on estimating the benefits of pollution control. Other volumes in this series of reports can be quickly accessed using the series title links above. These volumes are as follows. Volume I, EE-0272A, is the Executive Summary for the entire research project. Volume II, EE-0272B, considers experimental or contingent valuation approaches to valuing air and water quality improvements, paying particular attention to the benefits of improving visibility in national parks, improving national water quality, reducing risks of exposure to hazardous waste, and reducing ambient ozone concentrations in the South Coast Air Basin. Volume III, EE-0272C, updates earlier efforts to estimate the benefits of controlling acid deposition. Volume IV, EE-0272D, addresses methods for valuing the economic impacts of air pollution on ecosystems, providing a theoretical model and an empirical illustration using contingent valuation of the condition of a forest stock.

Volumes V, VI, and VII address questions related to air pollution impacts on human health. Volume V, EE-0272E, uses National Academy of Sciences data on twins to examine the effects of elevated levels of sulfur dioxide and total suspended particulates on symptoms including chest pain, cough, and shortness of breath. This report is Volume VI of the series. Volume VII, EE-0272G, presents a collection of three papers that assess the economic benefits of controlling pollutants, such as lead, that affect the health of children.

Finally, the original collection of studies included a non-technical discussion of recent developments in estimating the benefits of environmental improvements. A more recent version of that report can be viewed as an as a downloadable or online report.
  • Keywords

    1. Benefits Analysis
    1. Benefits Analysis - Valuation
    1. Benefits Analysis - Valuation - Cost of Damages Avoided
    1. Benefits Analysis - Valuation - Cost of Damages Avoided - Morbidity
    Environmental Media:
    a. Air
    a. Air - Tropospheric
    Gerking, Shelby D.
    Stanley, Linda R.
    Weirick, William N.
    EPA Project Officer/ Manager:
    Carlin, Alan
    Geographic Area:
    Missouri, St. Louis
    Study Purpose:
    Empirical Application, Methodology Development & Evaluation
    Report Series:
    Methods Development in Measuring Benefits of Environmental Improvements
    Inventory Record #: EE-0272F
    List of all reports in the Series:
  • Participating Organizations

    Research Organization:

    Wyoming, University of, Department of Economics and Institute for Policy ResearchAddress:
    City: Laramie State: WY ZIP: 82071
    Phone: Fax:
    Funding Organization:
    Environmental Protection Agency,
    Office fo Policy, Planning and Evaluation
    City: Washington State: DC ZIP: 20460
    Phone: Fax:
  • Report Details
    Number of Pages:
    Grant/Contract #:
  • How to Obtain Report

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    Date Linked: 05/28/2009