The Impact of Air Pollution on Mental Health, by Emilia Tjernstrom
Co-authors: Valentina Duque (The University of Sydney), Zachary Duretto (The University of Sydney)
Meeting ID: 893 5834 7032
We add to a rich literature on the relationship between air pollution and health outcomes by estimating the causal effects of air pollution on adult mental health. We combine longitudinal data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia panel with high-frequency variation in air pollution at the monthly-year and postcode level. When air pollution in the 30 days leading up to the survey increases by one standard deviation, the mental health index worsens by 2.6 percent. Average effects mask substantial impact heterogeneity. Mental health deteriorates more for less educated individuals, economically disadvantaged groups, and respondents at the high and low ends of the age distribution. Moreover, the bulk of the effects take place at sub-clinical part of the spectrum. Consistent with this, we find no evidence that changes in air pollution are associated with changes in mental health-related healthcare use. Subclinical changes in mental health can be useful for early detection of mental disorders. Given that Australia’s average air pollution levels are below the World Health Organization’s air quality guidelines (2018), our results indicate that air pollution has negative health impacts even at the low end of the air pollution distribution.
For further information contact:
Microeconometrics and Public Policy Working Group Seminar Coordinator
Valentina Duque | ph: 9351 4482 |email: firstname.lastname@example.org