Unregulated contaminants in drinking water: Evidence from PFAS and housing prices

By Michelle Marcus and Rosie Mueller
May 6, 2024
DOI: 10.1016/j.jeem.2024.102987

Our understanding of individuals’ response to information about unregulated contaminants is limited. We leverage the highly publicized social discovery of unregulated PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) contamination in public drinking water to study the impact of information about unregulated contaminants on housing prices. Using residential property transaction data, we employ a difference-in-differences research design and show that high profile media coverage about PFAS contamination significantly decreased property values of affected homes. We also find suggestive evidence of residential sorting that may have worsened environmental inequality.


View on ScienceDirect