Neha Khanna, PhD, Professor of Economics at Binghamton University, will present the EEEP Seminar Series, “Noise Pollution and Mental Health” on September 27, 2023.
Abstract: Neha Khanna studies the effects of exposure to noise pollution. Noise pollution is defined as unwanted or excessive sound, which can trigger the human stress response system which, in turn, induces cognitive impairment in children and interferes with sleep causing mental fatigue and poor mental health outcomes. Mental illness is costly to society and imposes a multi-billion dollar burden on the U.S. economy each year through poor educational outcomes for children and productivity and earning penalties for adults.
Neha estimates the causal effect of noise pollution on mental health using novel data that measures the exposure of approximately 15,000 individuals to noise pollution from highways and aviation between 2014 and 2020. A unique feature of her data is that it can link individual mental health outcomes to highway and aviation noise pollution through relatively precise residential addresses. Neha instruments for ambient noise using changes in local wind conditions and during-survey seasonality. She found that road noise has significant negative effects on mental health, equivalent to around 5% of respondents in the sample reporting mild symptoms such as “worrying” or “feeling nervous” for several days within a two-week period. These findings are robust to various noise measurements and econometric specifications. Finally, she finds that sleep deprivation plays a significant role in explaining how noise affects mental health.
Speaker Bio: Neha Khanna is Professor of Economics at Binghamton University (State University of New York). Her research covers multiple aspects of energy and environmental economics including climate change, global oil markets, the relationship between economic growth and environmental quality, and voluntary and strategic self-regulation. On-going projects examine the intergenerational persistence in exposure to pollution as well as the welfare consequences of exposure to roadway noise. She is also studying strategic behavior and pollution spillovers under the Clean Air Act. She has served on the Board of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economics and is currently Past President of the Northeastern Association of Agricultural and Resource Economics.