research institute for compassionate economics

The child health impacts of coal: evidence from India’s coal expansion

Sangita Vyas, on July 21st, 2019

This paper investigates the child health impacts associated with a large coal plant expansion in India. Using place and time fixed effects, exposure to a median-sized coal plant at birth is associated with a height deficit of 0.09 standard deviations. Effects are similar for low and high socioeconomic status children. The paper presents evidence supporting air pollution as the mechanism underlying this relationship. It also demonstrates that results are not driven by changes in other characteristics, and that height pre-trends are similar in places that receive coal plants and those that do not. Because child height has lasting consequences for human capital, coal plants likely have enduring effects for India’s economy.

Download Published: Working Paper       Geography: India