July 2012

IZA DP No. 6744: Aircraft Noise, Health, and Residential Sorting: Evidence from Two Quasi-Experiments

We explore two unexpected changes in flight regulations to identify the causal effect of aircraft noise on health. Detailed yearly noise metrics are linked with panel data on health outcomes using exact address information. Controlling for individual and spatial heterogeneity, we find that aircraft noise significantly increases sleeping problems, weariness and headaches. Our pooled models substantially underestimate the detrimental health effects, which suggests that individuals self-select into residence based on their unobserved noise sensitivity and idiosyncratic vulnerability. Generally, we show that the combination of fixed effects and quasi-experiments is very powerful to identify causal effects in epidemiological field studies.