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Air quality warnings and outdoor activities: Evidence from Southern California using a regression discontinuity design
  1. Matthew Neidell*
  1. Columbia University, United States
  1. Correspondence to: Matthew Neidell, Health policy & management, Columbia University, 600 W. 168th Street, 6th floor, New York, 10032, United States; mn2191{at}columbia.edu

Abstract

Background: This paper assessed the impact of air quality warnings associated with ground-level ozone on outdoor activities in Southern California.

Methods: Data on aggregate daily attendance at two major outdoor facilities was collected and merged with observed and forecasted air quality and meteorology at the daily level. A quasi-experimental regression discontinuity design was used to estimate the impact of warnings.

Results and conclusions: Attendance declined significantly when stage 1 air quality warnings (“smog alerts”) were issued. Consistent with expectations, responses were greater for populations more likely to be considered susceptible and more likely to be local residents. Air quality warnings are an important policy tool for protecting the public’s health from high levels of ambient air pollution.

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