We exploit the introduction of electronic toll collection, (E-ZPass), which greatly reduced both traffic congestion and vehicle emissions near highway toll plazas. We show that the introduction of E-ZPass reduced prematurity and low birth weight among mothers within 2 kilometers (km) of a toll plaza by 10.8 percent and 11.8 percent, respectively, relative to mothers 2-10 km from a toll plaza. There were no immediate changes in the characteristics of mothers or in housing prices near toll plazas that could explain these changes. The results are robust to many changes in specification and suggest that traffic congestion contributes significantly to poor health among infants.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)