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Health Benefits of Reducing Air Traffic Noise: Evidence from Changes in Flight Patterns

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Seminar Room 4.E4.SR03
GREEN Seminar Series


This paper investigates health externalities generated by air transportation. As a source of exogenous variation, we use an unannounced five-month trial that reduced early morning aircraft landings at London Heathrow airport. Our measure of health is prescribed medication usage for conditions known to be aggravated by sleep disturbances. Compared to the control regions, we observe a significant and substantial decrease in prescribed drugs for respiratory and central nervous system conditions in the areas subjected to reduced air traffic between 4:30am and 6.00am. Our findings suggest therefore a causal influence of air traffic on health conditions.