Many cities and countries invest in air pollution monitoring systems. The value of these systems depends crucially on how the information that they collect is used by the public. For example, Mexico City has a robust monitoring network of over 30 stations with hourly pollutant readings that are available online and through an app. However, the public is not regularly using this information to engage in protective "avoidance" behaviors to reduce their exposure to air pollution and mitigate its related health risks.
We develop a messaging service that provides location and pollutant specific (ozone and particulate matter) alerts through SMS message early in the day. We use an incentive compatible mechanism to elicit willingness to pay for the SMS alert service and we randomly assign households to receive or not receive the SMS alert service. Participants are also randomly assigned to two cross-cutting treatments: (1) monthly SMS reminders of air pollution trends and avoidance behaviors, and (2) provision of a free N95 certified mask. We will estimate the causal effect of the alert service and reminder information on avoidance behavior. Because the N95 mask is effective in reducing exposure to particulate matter but not ozone, receiving a free mask lowers the cost of avoidance for days with high particulate matter relative to days with high ozone. We will use this variation to investigate the causal effect of the cost of avoidance behavior on engaging in avoidance behavior.