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Urban noise, sleep disruption and health

Fan, Yi and Weinhold, Diana ORCID: 0000-0002-0002-9378 (2022) Urban noise, sleep disruption and health. Applied Economics. ISSN 0003-6846

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Numerous studies have linked sleep disruption to a variety of poor health outcomes, but social scientists still have a very limited understanding of the overall importance of sleep for health in the general population. Limitations on both the scope and duration of laboratory studies make it difficult to establish longer-term causal links, and potential reverse causality may significantly weaken causal inference with observational data. As a result there is little empirical evidence on the potential causal impact of commonly encountered urban noise-induced sleep disruption on health in otherwise healthy adults. Using a survey of Dutch adults, we contribute to the effort to investigate the causal relationship between self-reported sleep disruption and health by using individual-specific exposure to neighbor noise as an instrument for sleep disruption. We argue that neighbor noise is a relatively ex-ante unobservable exogenous shock, and we provide quantitative evidence that it fulfills the relevance, exogeneity, and exclusion restrictions for validity as an instrument. Consistent with theory, we find statistically and economically significant causal effects of sleep disruption on cardiovascular problems, auto-immune diseases such as arthritis and lung disease, and headache. The results survive a battery of robustness checks and highlight the importance of noise-related public policies.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2022 Informa UK Limited
Divisions: International Development
Subjects: Q Science > QP Physiology
T Technology > TD Environmental technology. Sanitary engineering
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
JEL classification: I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I1 - Health > I10 - General
R - Urban, Rural, and Regional Economics > R2 - Household Analysis > R23 - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population
D - Microeconomics > D0 - General > D00 - General
Date Deposited: 21 Mar 2022 16:48
Last Modified: 25 May 2022 12:12

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