Economic disparities in pollution-related mortality in three municipalities of the Metropolitan Area of the Valley of Mexico

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Alejandro Islas Camargo
Alok Kumar Bohara
José Mario Herrera Ramos


This study explored the nature of the health risk in the population of three municipalities of the Metropolitan Area of the Valley of Mexico (MAVM) by means of an empirical analysis of the health effects of air pollution and temperature variation. Based on the environmental justice theory, we asked whether, in unequal socioeconomic municipalities of the MAVM, the association between concentration and mortality depends on socioeconomic disparities. We differ from what has usually been done on these studies to establish the relationship between and mortality, by using a state-space model, instead of the Poisson regression model. The state-space model allows us to estimate the size of the unobserved at-risk population, its hazard rate, the life expectancy of individuals in that population, and the effect of changes in environmental conditions on that life expectancy. Our results show a lower hazard rate in the wealthy municipality, as compared to the higher hazard rate in the poor one. The lower hazard rate of the wealthy municipality extends life expectancy and enhances the likelihood of inhabitants staying long-lasting within the population at risk, thus increasing the size of that population, as compared to the population at risk in the poor municipality, whose members show a lower life expectancy. Thus, the smaller the at-risk population, the sicker its average member and, therefore, the smaller the impact on long-term mortality. Our study examines how health disparities play out regionally could provide information to propose public health policy initiatives that might improve living conditions among different communities.


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Author Biographies

Alejandro Islas Camargo, Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México Departamento Académico de Estadística Río Hondo No. 1, Col. Progreso Tizapán, Ciudad de México, 01080

Alejandro Islas-Camargo is a Full Professor in the Department of Statistics at ITAM. His research focuses on time series prediction, econometrics, migration, and labor markets. His research has been published in the Journal of International Economics, CEPAL Review, Communication in Statistics-Theory and Methods, Romanian Journal of Economic Forecasting and Statistics and Applications. He is a member of the National Research System, level II

Alok Kumar Bohara, Department of Economics The New Mexico University, USA 1915 Roma Ave. Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA

Dr. Alok K. Bohara is a Full Professor of Economics and the founding director of the Nepal Study Center at the University of New Mexico (UNM).  He has a Masters degree in Statistics and taught at Tribhuvan University, Nepal.  He received his Ph.D. from the University of Colorado (Boulder) in economics (1986).  After spending a year at CU as a visitor, he joined UNM in 1987. He is a senior research fellow at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy at the University of New Mexico.  Using the field experiments and secondary data sources and with the blend of science and technology (whenever appropriate and possible), his research focuses on interdisciplinary research questions related to environment, health, and sustainability.  He has published more than ninety peer-reviewed papers in the US and European journals.  He has mentored more than twenty PhD students with a successful placement in both academic and non-academic positions.  His research motto is: multidisciplinary, collaborative, and data intensive.

José Mario Herrera Ramos, Facultad Latino Americana de Ciencias Sociales, México Carretera Picacho Ajusco 377, Héroes de Padierna, Ciudad de México, 14200,

J. Mario Herrera Ramos is a Professor and researcher at FLACSO México. He studied for a Bachelor's Degree in Industrial Relations at the University of Guanajuato, a Master's Degree in Urban Development from El Colegio de México, and a Doctorate from the London School of Economics. He has been a professor of Economic Policy and Planning at El Colegio de México; Advisor in the Presidency of the Republic, in the Economic Cabinet, Technical Deputy Director of the Finance and International Trade Area; Advisor to the Secretary of Communications and Transportation, director of Economic Studies of the Ministry of Communications and Transportation, director of Socioeconomic and Regional Studies of the National Population Council. He has directed the research project funded by CONACyT on new technologies, job skills and wage inequality. Participates in the research project to develop a methodology for evaluating the satisfaction of social programs financed by SEDESOL-CONACyT, participates in the research project to evaluate beneficiary satisfaction and impact of the CONACyT mixed funds program financed by the World Bank, and coordinates the research project on government, political economy and public policy. It belongs to the National System of Researchers, Level I.

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