Klauber, H., Holub, F., Koch, N., Pestel, N., Ritter, N., Rohlf, A.

Killing Prescriptions Softly: Low Emission Zones and Child Health from Birth to School

in American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 02.05.2024

Peer Review , Policy Evaluation Lab

We examine the persistence of the impact of early-life exposure to air pollution on children's health from birth to school enrollment using administrative public health insurance records covering one-third of all children in Germany. For identification, we exploit air quality improvements caused by Low Emission Zones, a policy imposing driving restrictions on emission-intensive vehicles. Our results indicate that children exposed to cleaner air in utero and their first year of life require less medication for at least five years. The initially latent health response materializes only gradually, leaving important but subtle health benefits undetected in common measures of infant health.