The Coal Transition and Its Implications for Health and Housing Values

Rebecca Fraenkel, Josh Graff Zivin and Sam Krumholz


From 2005 to 2020, one-third of U.S. coal plants had at least one coal-fired generator close. We use this natural experiment to estimate the effect of coal plant exposure on mortality and house values. Using a difference-in-differences design, we find that counties within 30 miles of a closing unit experience large health effects after shutdown. While these health improvements appear to capitalize into housing values, they only do so within 15 miles of the plant and only when the retirement is of all units. Taken together, these results underscore the importance of risk salience in shaping market-mediated price effects.

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