Determinants of Local Public Policies for Farmland Preservation and Urban Expansion: A French IllustrationJournal articleOlivier Chanel, Laurence Delattre and Claude Napoléone, Land Economics, Volume 90, Issue 3, pp. 411-433, 2014

We outline the determinants of local public policies for farmland preservation and urban expansion. We first rely on the literature and on a purposely designed field study of municipalities in southern France to propose a theoretical framework better suited to the French situation. The model considers aspects of land consumption, includes two interest groups as well as the median voter, and is then econometrically tested. We confirm the expected effects of certain sociodemographic determinants and highlight the impact of municipal budgetary considerations and the role of the agricultural sector. We also find more counterintuitive determinants, like local political regime or unbalanced neighboring relationships.

Economic valuation of the mortality benefits of a regulation on SO2 in 20 European citiesJournal articleOlivier Chanel, Susann Henschel, Patrick G. Goodman, Antonis Analitis, Richard Atkinson, Alain Le Tertre, Ariana Zeka and S. Medina, European Journal of Public Health, Volume 24, Issue 4, pp. 631-637, 2014

Since the 1970s, legislation has led to progress in tackling several air pollutants. We quantify the annual monetary benefits resulting from reductions in mortality from the year 2000 onwards following the implementation of three European Commission regulations to reduce the sulphur content in liquid fuels for vehicles. We first compute premature deaths attributable to these implementations for 20 European cities in the Aphekom project by using a two-stage health impact assessment method. We then justify our choice to only consider mortality effects as short-term effects. We rely on European studies when selecting the central value of a life-year estimate (€2005 86 600) used to compute the monetary benefits for each of the cities. We also conduct an independent sensitivity analysis as well as an integrated uncertainty analysis that simultaneously accounts for uncertainties concerning epidemiology and economic valuation. Results: The implementation of these regulations is estimated to have postponed 2212 (95% confidence interval: 772–3663) deaths per year attributable to reductions in sulphur dioxide for the 20 European cities, from the year 2000 onwards. We obtained annual mortality benefits related to the implementation of the European regulation on sulphur dioxide of €2005 191.6 million (95% confidence interval: €2005 66.9–€2005 317.2). Conclusion: Our approach is conservative in restricting to mortality effects and to short-term benefits only, thus only providing the lower-bound estimate. Our findings underline the health and monetary benefits to be obtained from implementing effective European policies on air pollution and ensuring compliance with them over time.

Quantifying the health impacts of outdoor air pollution: useful estimations for public health actionJournal articleSylvia Medina, Ferran Ballester, Olivier Chanel, Christophe Declercq and Mathilde Pascal, Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, Volume 67, Issue 6, pp. 480-483, 2013
Assessing the public health impacts of urban air pollution in 25 European cities: Results of the Aphekom projectJournal articleMathilde Pascal, Magali Corso, Olivier Chanel, Christophe Declercq, Chiara Badaloni, Giulia Cesaroni, Susann Henschel, Kadri Meister, Daniela Haluza, Piedad Martin-Olmedo, et al., Science of The Total Environment, Volume 449, pp. 390-400, 2013

The Aphekom project aimed to provide new, clear, and meaningful information on the health effects of air pollution in Europe. Among others, it assessed the health and monetary benefits of reducing short and long-term exposure to particulate matter (PM) and ozone in 25 European cities.

Health impact assessments were performed using routine health and air quality data, and a common methodology. Two scenarios were considered: a decrease of the air pollutant levels by a fixed amount and a decrease to the World Health Organization (WHO) air quality guidelines. Results were economically valued by using a willingness to pay approach for mortality and a cost of illness approach for morbidity.

In the 25 cities, the largest health burden was attributable to the impacts of chronic exposure to PM2.5. Complying with the WHO guideline of 10 μg/m3 in annual mean would add up to 22 months of life expectancy at age 30, depending on the city, corresponding to a total of 19,000 deaths delayed. The associated monetary gain would total some €31 billion annually, including savings on health expenditures, absenteeism and intangible costs such as well-being, life expectancy and quality of life.

European citizens are still exposed to concentrations exceeding the WHO recommendations. Aphekom provided robust estimates confirming that reducing urban air pollution would result in significant health and monetary gains in Europe. This work is particularly relevant now when the current EU legislation is being revised for an update in 2013.

Ambient air SO2 patterns in 6 European citiesJournal articleSusann Henschel, Xavier Querol, Richard Atkinson, Marco Pandolfi, Ariana Zeka, Alain Le Tertre, Antonis Analitis, Klea Katsouyanni, Olivier Chanel, Mathilde Pascal, et al., Atmospheric Environment, Volume 79, pp. 236-247, 2013

An analysis of the hourly SO2 pollution patterns with time can be a useful tool for policy makers and stakeholders in developing more effective local policies in relation to air quality as it facilitates a deeper understanding of concentrations and potential source apportionment.
A detailed analysis of hourly inter-annual, seasonal and weekday-specific SO2 concentration patterns using data obtained from 6 cities involved in the Aphekom project was conducted. This type of analysis has been done for other pollutants but less so for SO2, and not in a systematic fashion for a number of European cities.
Individual diurnal SO2 profiles and working weekday versus weekend specific 24-hr plots were generated using hourly SO2 measurements from a roadside and an urban background monitoring sites for 1993, 2001 and 2009 for each of the 6 European cities (Athens, Barcelona, Brussels, London, Paris, and Vienna). This facilitated the assessment of city specific patterns and comparison of changes with time.
SO2 concentrations varied throughout the day and tended to be lower on the weekends. A general decreasing trend for SO2 levels with time was observable at all stations.
This study provides a useful European perspective on patterns of exposure. For the 6 EU cities examined, road traffic, heating, and shipping in port cities appeared to be important sources of SO2 emissions, and hence the driving components widely reflected in the diurnal profiles with lower levels on the weekend likely due to lower traffic volume and industry related emissions. Although ambient SO2 concentrations have fallen over the assessed study period at all measurement sites, the daily patterns remained relatively unchanged.

Comment les individus valorisent-ils les décès associés à la pollution atmosphérique ? Une comparaison de trois scénarios hypothétiquesJournal articleDominique Ami, Frédéric Aprahamian, Olivier Chanel and Stéphane Luchini, Économie et Statistique, Volume 460-461, Issue 1, pp. 107-128, 2013

[fr] La valorisation économique d’une diminution du risque de mortalité recourt de plus en plus fréquemment aux techniques d’évaluation contingente. Celles‑ci consistent à interroger un échantillon d’individus sur leur «consentement à payer » (CAP) pour réduire ce risque à partir de scénarios hypothétiques. Les CAP dépendent toutefois de nombreux facteurs et notamment de la nature du risque sous‑jacent et du scénario proposé pour le réduire. Cet article s’intéresse à la diminution du risque de mortalité associé à une exposition à la pollution atmosphérique et teste l’effet d’une modification du contexte d’évaluation hypothétique à travers trois scénarios : un nouveau médicament, un déménagement et de nouvelles réglementations. Pour analyser les CAP déclarés dans les différents scénarios, nous définissons un cadre d’analyse unifié, théorique puis économétrique, qui prend en compte les préférences des participants pour le présent, ainsi que celles des autres membres du ménage. Deux résultats en découlent. Les taux d’actualisation implicites estimés, spécifiques à chacun des scénarios hypothétiques, se révèlent significativement différents. De l’ordre de 7 % pour le scénario «déménagement » , ils sont respectivement de 24 % et 26 % pour les scénarios «médicament » et «réglementation » . Il en résulte des «valeurs d’évitement d’un décès » (VED) moyennes très différentes entre le scénario «déménagement » (801 000) d’une part, et les scénarios «médicament » (299 000) et «réglementation » (252 000) d’autre part.
[en] The economic value placed on a reduction in the risk of mortality relies more and more frequently on contingent assessment techniques. These consist in questioning a sample of individuals on their “ willingness to pay” (WTP) in order to reduce this risk, on the basis of hypothetical scenarios. These WTP nevertheless depend on many factors, especially the nature of the underlying risk and the scenario proposed to reduce it. This article deals with reducing the risk of mortality associated with exposure to atmospheric pollution and tests the effect of a change in the hypothetical context of assessment through three scenarios : a new drug, a house move and new regulations. To analyse the “ willingness to pay” stated in the different scenarios, we define a unified, theoretical then econometric framework of analysis, taking into account the preferences of the participants at present, and also those of other household members. There are two main results. The estimated implicit updating rates, specific to each hypothetical scenario, were seen to differ significantly. They were about 7% for the “ move” scenario and 24% and 26% for the “ drugs” and “ regulations” scenarios respectively. Results showed that the average “ values set for avoiding death” differed greatly between the “ move” scenario (801,000) on the one hand, and the “ drugs” (299,000) and “ regulations” (252,000) scenarios on the other hand.

Valuing life: Experimental evidence using sensitivity to rare eventsJournal articleOlivier Chanel and Graciela Chichilnisky, Ecological Economics, Volume 85, Issue C, pp. 198-205, 2013

Global environmental phenomena like climate change, major extinction events or flutype pandemics can have catastrophic consequences. By properly assessing the outcomes involved – especially those concerning human life – economic theory of choice under uncertainty is expected to help people take the best decision. However, the widely used expected utility theory values life in terms of the low probability of death someone would be willing to accept in order to receive extra payment. Common sense and experimental evidence refute this way of valuing life, and here we provide experimental evidence of people's unwillingness to accept a low probability of death, contrary to expected utility predictions. This work uses new axioms of choice defined by Chichilnisky (2000), especially an axiom that allows extreme responses to extreme events, and the choice criterion that they imply. The implied decision criteria are a combination of expected utility with extreme responses, and seem more consistent with observations.

Chronic burden of near-roadway traffic pollution in 10 European cities (APHEKOM network)Journal articleLaura Perez, Christophe Declercq, Carmen Iñiguez, Inmaculada Aguilera, Chiara Badaloni, Ferran Ballester, Catherine Bouland, Olivier Chanel, Francisco B. Cirarda, Francesco Forastiere, et al., The European respiratory journal, Volume 42, Issue 3, pp. 594-605, 2013

Recent epidemiological research suggests that near road traffic-related pollution may cause chronic disease, as well as exacerbate related pathologies, implying that the entire “chronic disease progression” should be attributed to air pollution, no matter what the proximate cause was. We estimated the burden of childhood asthma attributable to air pollution in 10 European cities by calculating the number of cases of 1) asthma caused by near road traffic-related pollution, and 2) acute asthma events related to urban air pollution levels. We then expanded our approach to include coronary heart diseases in adults.Derivation of attributable cases required combining concentration-response function (CRF) between exposures and the respective health outcome of interest (obtained from published literature), an estimate of the distribution of selected exposures in the target population, and information about the frequency of the assessed morbidities.Exposure to roads with high vehicle traffic, a proxy for near road traffic-related pollution, accounted for 14% of all asthma cases. When a causal relationship between near road traffic-related pollution and asthma is assumed, 15% of all episodes of asthma symptoms were attributable to air pollution. Without this assumption, only 2% of asthma symptoms were attributable to air pollution. Similar patterns were found for coronary heart diseases in older adults.Pollutants along busy roads are responsible for a large and preventable share of chronic disease and related acute exacerbation in European urban areas.

A literature review: Air pollution interventions and their impact on public healthJournal articleSusann Henschel, Richard Atkinson, Ariana Zeka, Alain Le Tertre, Antonis Analitis, Klea Katsouyanni, Olivier Chanel, Mathilde Pascal, Bertil Forsberg, Sylvia Medina, et al., International Journal of Public Health, Volume 57, Issue 5, pp. 757-768, 2012

Numerous epidemiological studies have found a link between air pollution and health. We are reviewing a collection of published intervention studies with particular focus on studies assessing both improvements in air quality and associated health effects.
Interventions, defined as events aimed at reducing air pollution or where reductions occurred as a side effect, e.g. strikes, German reunification, from the 1960s onwards were considered for inclusion. This review is not a complete record of all existing air pollution interventions. In total, 28 studies published in English were selected based on a systematic search of internet databases.
Overall air pollution interventions have succeeded at improving air quality. Consistently published evidence suggests that most of these interventions have been associated with health benefits, mainly by the way of reduced cardiovascular and/or respiratory mortality and/or morbidity. The decrease in mortality from the majority of the reviewed interventions has been estimated to exceed the expected predicted figures based on the estimates from time-series studies.
There is consistent evidence that decreased air pollution levels following an intervention resulted in health benefits for the assessed population.

L'évaluation monétaire des effets sanitaires associés à la pollution atmosphériqueJournal articleOlivier Chanel, Pollution Atmosphérique, Issue N° Spécial Novembre, pp. 80-83, 2012

Lorsque le bien-être d’un individu est influencé par l’activité d’une tierce personne qui ne prend pas en compte ses retombées lors de son processus de prise de décision, l’évaluation économique parle d’externalité. Si les externalités peuvent parfois être positives, elles sont clairement négatives et très importantes dans le cas de la pollution atmosphérique.
Afin de pallier les défaillances du marché qu’elles provoquent, la théorie économique recommande de les chiffrer en termes monétaires. On dispose alors de guides visant à les internaliser, c’est-à-dire à les incorporer – partiellement ou totalement – dans les coûts associés aux activités qui les génèrent.
Après avoir présenté et discuté rapidement les méthodes de valorisation économique disponibles dans le cadre particulier de la pollution atmosphérique, nous aborderons quelques incertitudes et défis de l’évaluation économique et les illustrerons par certains résultats de l’étude européenne Aphekom (