Nicolai V. Kuminoff, Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics at Arizona State University, will be the speaker at this event.


We track millions of Americans across space and time to study how long-term exposure to air pollutants affects dementia and financial decision making. We link Medicare data to the Environmental Protection Agency’s air quality monitoring system by individuals’ addresses to observe each person’s health, health care utilization, choice of prescription drug insurance, and pollution exposure. Controlling for a large set of individual and Census-block characteristics, we find that a 10 microgram per cubic meter increase in 10 year annual average exposure to fine particulates (PM2.5) increase the probability of diagnosis with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias by 13%. In contrast, we find no evidence of effects on health outcomes unrelated to air pollution, nor do we find any systematic effects of pollutants besides PM 2.5, providing evidence against confounding by sorting on unobserved factors. Air pollution also affects financial decisions in markets for prescription drug insurance plans in Medicare Part D.  We find that greater exposure to PM2.5 leads to lower switching rates, higher potential savings, and more choices that violate basic axioms of consumer theory.

This seminar is open to all LSE staff and students. If you are from outside the LSE and would like to attend, please email to register for a place.

Keep in touch with the Grantham Research Institute at LSE
Sign up to our newsletters and get the latest analysis, research, commentary and details of upcoming events.