Air pollution, avoidance behaviour and children's respiratory health: Evidence from England

Katharina M Janke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)
465 Downloads (Pure)


Despite progress in air pollution control, concerns remain over the health impact of poor air quality. Governments increasingly issue air quality information to enable vulnerable groups to avoid exposure. Avoidance behaviour potentially biases estimates of the health effects of air pollutants. But avoidance behaviour imposes a cost on individuals and therefore may not be taken in all circumstances. This paper exploits panel data at the English local authority level to estimate the relationship between children’s daily hospital emergency admissions for respiratory diseases and common air pollutants, while allowing for avoidance behaviour in response to air pollution warnings. A 1% increase in
nitrogen dioxide or ozone concentrations increases hospital admissions by 0.1%. For the subset of asthma admissions – where avoidance is less costly – there is evidence of avoidance behaviour. Ignoring avoidance behaviour, however, does not result in statistically significant underestimation of the health effect of air pollution.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-42
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Health Economics
Early online date4 Aug 2014
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014


  • Air pollution
  • Child health
  • Asthma
  • Avoidance behaviour
  • Panel analysis


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