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[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Air pollution and medical care use by older Americans: A cross-area analysis

Victor R. Fuchs, PhD, Department of Economics, Stanford University, 30 Alta Rd., Stanford, CA 94305 and Sarah Rosen Frank, Department of Economics, UC Berkeley, 611 Evans Hall #3880, Berkeley, CA 94720, 510/652-7293, srfrank@econ.berkeley.edu.

The case for reduction of air pollution has been predicated primarily on the frequently observed relationship between pollution and mortality and morbidity. Because pollution control usually involves costs, a rational public policy will weigh the benefits against the costs. This study investigates another potential benefit from pollution reduction: namely, decreased use of medical care. We find a strong relationship between particulate matter and inpatient and outpatient care at ages 65-84 across 183 metropolitan statistical areas. The relationship is statistically significant at a very high level of confidence even after the region and population size of the areas, education, real income, racial composition, use of cigarettes, and obesity are controlled for.

Learning Objectives:

  • This talk is part of the symposium