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Protecting China's children: valuing the health impacts of reduced air pollution in Chinese cities

  • ROBERT W. MEAD (a1) and VICTOR BRAJER (a1)


As China advances its overall program of economic development, many Chinese cities consistently suffer from unhealthy levels of air pollution. One of the groups most affected is children. This paper provides some quantification regarding the extent of various morbidity costs upon children in portions of urban China. Using China-based health-effects and valuation studies, the authors project, and value in dollar figures, the number of averted cases of childhood colds, bronchitis, asthma, and respiratory-related hospital visits resulting from a lowering of air pollution levels. The results indicate that these child morbidity benefits may be substantial, with a mid-range value of nearly $3.5 billion over the period 2002–2011.


Corresponding author

Address correspondence to Dr Robert W. Mead, Department of Economics, California State University – Fullerton, Fullerton, CA 92834 USA. Tel: (714) 278-4478. Fax: (714) 278-3097. E-mail:


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Portions of this paper were presented at the 2003 Annual Meeting of the Western Economics Association. We are grateful to Andrew Gill, Marion Jones, Max Schneiser, Nick Farnum and two anonymous referees for key technical assistance and useful suggestions.



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