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EE Seminar

Environmental Economics Seminar

Winds of Fire and Smoke: Air Pollution and Health in the Brazilian Amazon


André Albuquerque Sant'Anna
Economist at the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES)



In this paper we assess the effects of fire-related smoke on population health in the Brazilian Amazon. Our empirical strategy is based on a municipality-by-month fixed effects model, coupled with an instrumental variables approach that explores wind direction and smoke in surrounding areas in order to exogenously shift exposure to smoke at the locality. We find that exposure to smoke, measured by PM2.5 concentration levels, is robustly associated with an increase in hospital admissions for respiratory conditions. The effects are higher among children and the elderly, and increase non-linearly with pollution levels. Our benchmark estimates indicate that an increase of one standard deviation in PM2.5 is related to an increase of 1.5% of the monthly hospitalization rate for respiratory conditions. The latter estimate reaches 14% if monthly average PM2.5 crosses thresholds as high as 75mg/m3. We do not observe significant effects on hospitalization rates related to other health conditions nor on mortality rates.

KeyWords: fires, air pollution, health outcomes, Amazon.
JEL Codes: I14, I18, H23, Q53.

Co author : Rudi Rocha

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Dates & time

Oct 02, 2020


Alexandre Sauquet
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