Effectiveness of air pollution standards in reducing mortality in India

Ashwini Sankar, Jay S. Coggins, Andrew L Goodkind

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


India experiences some of the highest air pollution levels globally, with 13 of the 20 most polluted cities in the world. In this paper, we estimate the relationship between air pollution policies in India and mortality for people of all ages and all causes. We estimate the relationship between mortality and two major air pollution regulations, the Supreme Court Action Plan (SCAP) and the Catalytic Converter (CC) policy. Although data for mortality in India have improved over time, the annual average mortality for many districts is volatile, with many outliers and missing values. After addressing these measurement issues in a difference-in-differences setup, we do not find evidence that the policies were effective in significantly reducing mortality. In an effort to understand the potential benefits of reducing pollution levels in India, we investigate the association of different pollution types with mortality. This analysis relies upon relatively recent satellite data on PM2.5 levels in India. We examine this relationship for India for the first time, using a fixed effects model in an attempt to address issues of endogeneity and measurement error. We find that PM2.5 levels are positively associated with mortality, with a 10% increase in pollution conditionally associated with a 2.0% increase in the mortality rate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101188
JournalResource and Energy Economics
StatePublished - Nov 2020


  • Air pollution
  • Environmental regulations
  • India
  • Mortality
  • PM2.5


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