Particulate Air Pollution, Birth Outcomes, and Infant Mortality: Evidence from Japan's Automobile Emission Control Law of 1992
This study investigates the impacts of the Automobile NOx Law of 1992 on ambient air pollutants and fetal and infant health outcomes in Japan. Using panel data taken from more than 1,500 monitoring stations between 1987 and 1997, we find that NOx and SO2 levels reduced by 87% and 52%, respectively in regulated areas following the 1992 regulation. In addition, using a municipal-level Vital Statistics panel dataset and adopting the regression differences-in-differences method, we find that the enactment of the regulation explained most of the improvements in the fetal death rate between 1991 and 1993. This study is the first to provide evidence on the positive impacts of this large-scale automobile regulation policy on fetal health.