This paper examines the effect of energy production on health using a re-cent strike that affected oil refineries in France as a natural experiment. First, weshow that the temporary reduction in refining led to a significant reduction in sulfurdioxide (SO2) concentrations. Second, this shock significantly increased birth weightand gestational age of newborns, particularly for those exposed to the strike duringthefirst and third trimesters of pregnancy, and decreased asthma and bronchitis ad-missions. Back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest that a 1-unit (or 26%) decline inmonthly SO2leads to an€89 million increase in lifetime earnings per birth-year co-hort. This externality from oil refineries should be an important part of policy dis-cussions surrounding the production of energy.
Energy production and health externalities: evidence from oil strike refineries in France
4 May 2017