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Your Environment. Your Health.

Pollution, health, and avoidance behavior: evidence from the Ports of Los Angeles

Environmental Health Economic Analysis Annotated Bibliography


Research article Cost analysis (CA)
Moretti E and Neidell M
Journal of Human Resources
This cost analysis study estimated the short-term health effects of ozone between the years 1993 and 2000 using daily data on boat traffic at ports in the Los Angeles area as an instrumental variable of ozone exposure. Upon merging several datasets on daily air pollution and health effects and applying a conceptual framework of equations, investigators estimated that ozone causes at least $44 million in annual costs in Los Angeles from respiratory-related hospitalizations along and that the cost of avoidance behavior is at least $11 million per year. Although these estimates cover a wide range, they are at least as large as the medical and wage expenditures based on a cost of illness analysis, suggesting considerable costs from this nonmarket behavior.
Four age groups: infants and young children (0-5 years); children and adolescents (6-14 years), young adults and older adults (15-64 years), and elderly (≥ 64 years)

Health Outcomes

  • Respiratory outcomes (pneumonia, bronchitis, asthma, and other respiratory illnesses)

Environmental Agents

List of Environmental Agents:

  • Air pollutants (ozone (O3))

Source of Environmental Agents:

  • Emissions from boat traffic in ports

Economic Evaluation / Methods and Source


  • Cost analysis (CA)

Cost Measured:

  • Respiratory-related emergency department visits
  • willingness to pay (WTP) to reduce ozone levels
  • costs of avoidance behavior from ozone-related hospitalizations

Potential Cost Measures:

  • Costs related to other short-term effects of ozone that do not result in hospitalizations
  • costs related to long-term effects of ozone

Benefits Measures: (Not available)

Potential Benefits: (Not available)


  • Los Angeles and Long Beach, California

Models Used: (Not available)

Methods Used:

  • The authors estimated the short-term effects of ozone on health accounting for avoidance behavior, confounding factors, and measurement error, and provided estimates of the welfare effects and costs of avoidance behavior from ozone-related hospitalizations in the Los Angeles area. They — 1) obtained daily data from the marine exchange of southern California on boat arrivals and departures into the port of Los Angeles, and used boat traffic as an instrumental variable for ozone levels; 2) obtained health data from respiratory-related emergency department visits from the California Hospital Discharge Data (CHDD) for specific age groups; 3) obtained daily pollution data maintained by the California Air Resources Board; 4) obtained weather data from the National Climatic Data Center; 5) merged datasets together at the daily level by zip code for the months of April-October for the years 1993-2000 for all zip codes in the Sout Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD); and 6) used a conceptual framework with mathematical equations to estimate the health effects of ozone.

Sources Used:

  • Air quality data from the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD); California Hospital Discharge Data (CHDD) on respiratory-related emergency department visits for specific age groups; California Air Resources Board daily pollution data; data on boat traffic from the marine exchange of southern California; data on weather from the National Climatic Data Center; additional sources cited in publication

Economic Evaluation / Methods and Source


  • Moretti E and Neidell M. 2011. Pollution, health, and avoidance behavior: evidence from the Ports of Los Angeles. Journal of Human Resources.
  • Pubmed
  • DOI

NIEHS Funding: (Not available)

Other Funding: (Not available)

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