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The Department of Environmental Economics and Management

The Robert H. Smith Faculty
of Agriculture, Food and Environment
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

PO Box 12, Rehovot 76100
Fax: 08-9466267

Department Head:
Prof. Ayal Kimhi, Tel: 08-9489376

Head of the teaching program:

Dr. Iddo Kan, Tel: 08-9489233

Miri Arazi, Tel: 08-9489230


Ebenstein, A. ; Fan, M. ; Greenstone, M. ; He, G. ; Zhou, M. New evidence on the impact of sustained exposure to air pollution on life expectancy from China’s Huai River Policy. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2017, 114, 10384–10389. Publisher's VersionAbstract
An estimated 4.5 billion people are currently exposed to particulate matter (PM) levels at least twice the concentration that the WHO considers safe. Existing evidence linking health to air pollution is largely based on populations exposed to only modest levels of PM and almost entirely composed of observational studies, which are likely to confound air pollution with other unobserved determinants of health. This study uses quasiexperimental variation in particulate matter smaller than 10 μm (PM10) generated by an arbitrary Chinese policy to find that a 10-μg/m3 increase in PM10 reduces life expectancy by 0.64 years. The estimates imply that bringing all of China into compliance with its Class I standards for PM10 would save 3.7 billion life-years.This paper finds that a 10-μg/m3 increase in airborne particulate matter [particulate matter smaller than 10 μm (PM10)] reduces life expectancy by 0.64 years (95% confidence interval = 0.21–1.07). This estimate is derived from quasiexperimental variation in PM10 generated by China’s Huai River Policy, which provides free or heavily subsidized coal for indoor heating during the winter to cities north of the Huai River but not to those to the south. The findings are derived from a regression discontinuity design based on distance from the Huai River, and they are robust to using parametric and nonparametric estimation methods, different kernel types and bandwidth sizes, and adjustment for a rich set of demographic and behavioral covariates. Furthermore, the shorter lifespans are almost entirely caused by elevated rates of cardiorespiratory mortality, suggesting that PM10 is the causal factor. The estimates imply that bringing all of China into compliance with its Class I standards for PM10 would save 3.7 billion life-years.
Ebenstein, A. ; Lavy, V. ; Roth, S. The Long-Run Economic Consequences of High-Stakes Examinations: Evidence from Transitory Variation in Pollution. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics 2016, 8 36-65. Publisher's Version
Ebenstein, A. ; Hazan, M. ; Simhon, A. Changing the Cost of Children and Fertility: Evidence from the Israeli Kibbutz. The Economic Journal 2016, 126, 2038-2063. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Prior to 1996, Israelis in collective communities (kibbutzim) shared the costs of raising children equally. This article examines the impact of privatising costs of children on the fertility behaviour of young couples. Exploiting variation in parental cost-sharing across kibbutzim, we estimate that lifetime fertility declined by 0.65 children. We also examine the exit decisions of members, and find that couples were most likely to leave the kibbutz if they were either higher income or lower fertility. This pattern is also observed among Israeli emigrants, in which higher educated and lower fertility couples are more likely to leave Israel.