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Urban development and air pollution: evidence from a global panel of cities

Hilber, Christian A. L. and Palmer, Charles (2014) Urban development and air pollution: evidence from a global panel of cities. Working Paper (175). Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, London.

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Abstract

We exploit a unique panel of 75 metro areas (‘cities’) across the globe and employ a city-fixed effects model to identify the determinants of within-city changes in air pollution concentration between 2005 and 2011. Increasing car and population densities significantly reduce air pollution concentration in city centers where air pollution induced health risks are greatest. These effects are largely confined to cities in non-OECD countries. Two possible mechanisms for the negative effect of car density are explored: (i) increasing car density permits a decentralization of residential and economic activity; and (ii) car usage substitutes for motorbike usage. We find limited evidence in favour of (i) and no evidence in favour of (ii). We also observe a complex relationship between income and pollution concentration as well as a general downward-trend in pollution concentration over time. Overall, our findings are indicative that densely populated polycentric cities may be ‘greener’ and ‘healthier’ than comparable monocentric ones.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Official URL: http://www.lse.ac.uk/GranthamInstitute/
Additional Information: ©2014 The Authors
Divisions: Geography & Environment
Spatial Economics Research Centre
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
JEL classification: Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics > Q1 - Agriculture
Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics > Q5 - Environmental Economics
R - Urban, Rural, and Regional Economics > R1 - General Regional Economics
R - Urban, Rural, and Regional Economics > R1 - General Regional Economics > R11 - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, and Changes
R - Urban, Rural, and Regional Economics > R4 - Transportation Systems
R - Urban, Rural, and Regional Economics > R4 - Transportation Systems > R41 - Transportation: Demand, Supply, and Congestion; Safety and Accidents; Transportation Noise
Sets: Departments > Geography and Environment
Research centres and groups > Spatial Economics Research Centre
Date Deposited: 01 May 2015 16:20
Last Modified: 30 Jan 2019 12:19
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/61790

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