Q&A: Putting a price on deaths from vehicle pollution

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Copyright: Maria Cristina Saccuman

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Outdoor air pollution kills more than three million people each year. “We can now estimate the cost of air pollution for the advanced and emerging economies of the world, including China and India,” says Rana Roy, consulting economist for the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) and the WHO, speaking at Bocconi University in Italy.

Roy, an expert on social costs and benefits, wrote a recent OECD report on the cost of air pollution from road transport. In this interview, he explains how economists estimate the impact of deaths caused by air pollution, essentially assigning a price tag to a human life. He also focuses on the factors that contribute to the increased death rate from air pollution in China and India, and strategies to reduce this toll.

Additional reporting by Alessandro Tosatto and Silvia Morara.