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Keywords:

  • Health;
  • noise pollution;
  • residential sorting;
  • fixed effects;
  • quasi-experiments

SUMMARY

We explore two unexpected changes in flight regulations to estimate the causal effect of aircraft noise on health. Detailed measures of noise are linked with longitudinal data on individual health outcomes based on the exact address information. Controlling for individual heterogeneity and spatial sorting into different neighborhoods, we find that aircraft noise significantly increases sleeping problems and headaches. Models that do not control for such heterogeneity and sorting substantially underestimate the negative health effects, which suggests that individuals self-select into residence based on their unobserved sensitivity to noise. Our study demonstrates that the combination of quasi-experimental variation and panel data is very powerful for identifying causal effects in epidemiological field studies. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.