Research paper report Essay Example

Research paper report

The intention of this paper is to find out how coal plants contribute to health externalities owing to changes in respiratory health and increased exposure to nationals in India. According to Gupta and spears (2017) coal power generation in India and other developing countries has contributed to air pollution and climate change. This paper recognizes India as a developing country and offers an empirical inquiry into how people are exposed to health externalities such as respiratory diseases associated with increased exposure to coal plant emissions. Furthermore, these authors practically and theoretically confirm that coal plants impact on the respiratory health of individuals as compared to non-coal plants.

The empirical study by Gupta and Spears (2017) involved collection of panel data from 40,000 households in India between 2005 and 2012. As a comparative study, it contrasted cases respiratory health with those of diarrhea and fever. The identification strategy used was difference-in-difference approach which made it possible to study longitudinally the association between changes in the reported cough and the exposure to coal plants. The two-stage sampling approach was cost-effective in capturing a number of variables such as indexes of local places, individual households, districts and the duration of the study. I think the linear probability regression was sufficient in showing results in place and time, adding demographic and economic controls and as well controlling for other factors that influence respiratory health and cough. The study identified these factors as place of cooking, cooking fuel type and presence of electricity. The study employed secondary data especially from the Indian Human Development Survey (IHDS) that observes health, economic and social modules as has been politically tractable over the long-term. I believe this data source was relevant because it has been used before to study immunization, education and human capital.

As well, it provides sufficient source of control variables such as economic consumption, availability of electricity connection and the presence of other respiratory diseases as independent variables to be related construction of coal power plants as independent variable. Meanwhile, t-test was effective in comparing the mean values independent variables (gained coal plants and non-coal plants gained), dependent variables (cough, fever and diarrhea reported) and control variables (per capita consumption, electricity, separate kitchen and hours of electricity per day). The baseline data was that of 2005 and was compared with treatment statistics for 2012 which made it cost-effective. I think the use of t-test was significant in showing the differences in the mean value for the base and treatment years. The idea was to report health and economic well-being changes after the introduction of new coal plants and their levels of exposure to respiratory diseases such as fever, diarrhea and cough.

Moreover, the study approach made an identifying assumption that for places that did not receive coal plants they form informative counterfactual on the reporting of coughs. As shown in literature, the expansion of coal plants would comply with the parallel trends as observed from the census data from the 1990s. However, there is a possibility that variables studied in the districts from the year 2005 to 2015 could experience different trends as those studied between 1991 and 2001. From the table, no evidence of parallel trends is observed for sanitation, total literacy, female literacy, infant mortality rate and household level electrification for areas that did and those that did not receive new coal plants.


This study has great contribution to the discourse in environmental and human health. From the results, it is evident that changes in respiratory health over time did experience increased exposure to coal plants. Being a longitudinal study, it shows that places that gains new coal plants are more likely to experience increased cases of reported cough as did areas that do not receive new coal plants. Regardless of changes in economic circumstances, the local people exposed to coal plants have higher probabilities of acquiring coughs. Also, in building economic and human development literature, we learn that changes in exposure to coal plants do not merely reflect the changes in household consumption but also the changes in economic well-being. Coal plants generate electricity that boosts energy needs of local cities, towns and homes which increases levels of production and standards of living making it socially-efficient.

Nonetheless, it is not cost effective as it loads pressure on the strain health facilities and intervention measures for respiratory diseases. Geographically, it is politically tractable to use small areas of urban blocks and villages to manage real household consumption which also accounts for the distribution mechanisms used by the regional governments to distribute resources among citizens. A full set of controls can be employed to check on falsification and robustness as well as verification of parallel trends. This study indicates a health externality related to coal plants in India after it found that districts that gained coal plants from 2005 and 2012 have reported increased cases of cough. In human and social development, this study informs decision making and policy on climate change and health risks. It generates more debate on the relevance and benefits of coal power generation in India and other developing countries.


Gupta, A. & Spears, D. (2017). Health externalities of India’s expansion of coal plants: Evidence from anational panel of 40,000 households. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management.