Environmental and Resource Economics

, Volume 65, Issue 2, pp 487–511

Who Responds to Air Quality Alerts?


DOI: 10.1007/s10640-015-9915-z

Cite this article as:
Ward, A.L.S. & Beatty, T.K.M. Environ Resource Econ (2016) 65: 487. doi:10.1007/s10640-015-9915-z


This paper investigates behavioral response to air quality alert programs using detailed time diary data. Specifically, we investigate whether individuals targeted by mandatory air quality warnings respond by reducing time spent in proscribed activities—the most important of which are outdoor activities that raise breathing and heart rates—thereby mitigating the health effects of pollutants on high-pollution days. We find that individuals engage in averting behavior on alert days by reducing the time they spend in vigorous outdoor activities by 18 % or 21 min on average. We find differential responses to alerts, with the largest responses amongst the elderly.


Air qualityOzoneAvoidance behaviorInformationTime use

JEL Classification


Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alison L. Sexton Ward
    • 1
  • Timothy K. M. Beatty
    • 2
  1. 1.Precision Health EconomicsSan FranciscoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Agricultural and Resource EconomicsUniversity of California, DavisDavisUSA