Three Essays on Air Pollution in Developing Countries
Air pollution is now recognized as the deadliest problem in developing countries and policymakers are pressed to take action to relieve its health burden. Using a variety of econometric strategies, I explore various issues surrounding policies to manage air pollution in developing countries. In the first chapter, using locational equilibrium logic and forest fires as instrument, I estimated the willingness-to-pay for improved PM2.5 in Indonesia. I find that WTP is at around 1% of annual income. Moreover, this approach allows me to compute the welfare effects of a policy that reduces forest fires by 50% in some provinces. The second chapter continues on this theme by assessing the long-term impacts the early-life exposure to air pollution. Using the 1997 forest fires in Indonesia as an exogenous shock, I find that prenatal exposure to air pollution is associated with shorter height, decreased lung capacity, and lower results in cognitive tests. These findings are consistent across several specifications and robustness checks. The last chapter tackles the issue of indoor air pollution in India. In here, I use stated responses from a discrete choice experiment to categorize households into three distinct groups of cookstoves preferences; interested in improved cookstoves, interested in electric cookstoves; uninterested. These groupings are then verified using actual stoves purchase decisions and I found large area of agreement between households stated responses and their purchase decisions.
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