Air pollution exposure and Covid‑19 in Dutch municipalities

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In light of the existing preliminary evidence of a link between Covid-19 and poor air quality, which is largely based upon correlations, we estimate the relationship between long term air pollution exposure and Covid-19 in 355 municipalities in the Netherlands. Using detailed data we find compelling evidence of a positive relationship between air pollution, and particularly PM 2.5 concentrations, and Covid-19 cases, hospital admissions and deaths. This relationship persists even after controlling for a wide range of explanatory variables. Our results indicate that, other things being equal, a municipality with 1 μg/m 3 more PM 2.5 concentrations will have 9.4 more Covid-19 cases, 3.0 more hospital admissions, and 2.3 more deaths. This relationship between Covid-19 and air pollution withstands a number of sensitivity and robustness exercises including instrumenting pollution to mitigate potential endogeneity in the measurement of pollution and modelling spatial spillovers using spatial econometric techniques.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)581–610
Number of pages30
JournalEnvironmental and Resource Economics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 4 Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2020.


  • Covid-19
  • Air pollution
  • Spatial spillovers
  • Netherlands

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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