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The Impact of Pollution on Worker Productivity

Listed author(s):
  • Joshua Graff Zivin
  • Matthew Neidell

This paper assesses the impact of pollution on worker productivity by relating exogenous daily variations in ozone with productivity of agricultural workers as recorded under piece rate contracts. We find robust evidence that ozone levels well below federal air quality standards have a significant impact on productivity. These results suggest that, in contrast to common characterizations of environmental protection as a tax on producers, environmental protection can also be viewed as an investment in human capital, and thus a tool for promoting economic growth.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.102.7.3652
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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/aer/data/dec2012/20110533_data.zip
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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 102 (2012)
Issue (Month): 7 (December)
Pages: 3652-3673

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:102:y:2012:i:7:p:3652-73
Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.102.7.3652
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  1. Hanna, Rema & Oliva, Paulina, 2015. "The effect of pollution on labor supply: Evidence from a natural experiment in Mexico City," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 68-79.
  2. Orana Bandiera & Iwan Barankay & Imran Rasul, 2005. "Social preferences and the response to incentives: Evidence from personnel data," Natural Field Experiments 00212, The Field Experiments Website.
  3. Barreca, Alan I., 2012. "Climate change, humidity, and mortality in the United States," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 19-34.
  4. Paarsch, Harry J & Shearer, Bruce, 2000. "Piece Rates, Fixed Wages, and Incentive Effects: Statistical Evidence from Payroll Records," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 41(1), pages 59-92, February.
  5. Bandiera, Oriana & Barankay, Iwan & Rasul, Imran, 2009. "Social Incentives in the Workplace," IZA Discussion Papers 4190, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. A. Colin Cameron & Jonah B. Gelbach & Douglas L. Miller & Doug Miller, 2009. "Robust Inference with Multi-way Clustering," Working Papers 98, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  7. Maximilian Auffhammer & Ryan Kellogg, 2011. "Clearing the Air? The Effects of Gasoline Content Regulation on Air Quality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(6), pages 2687-2722, October.
  8. Richard T. Carson & Phoebe Koundouri & Céline Nauges, 2010. "Arsenic Mitigation in Bangladesh: A Household Labor Market Approach," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 93(2), pages 407-414.
  9. Kenneth Y. Chay & Michael Greenstone, 1998. "Does Air Quality Matter? Evidence from the Housing Market," NBER Working Papers 6826, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Ostro, Bart D., 1983. "The effects of air pollution on work loss and morbidity," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 371-382, December.
  11. Jerry A. Hausman & Bart D. Ostro & David A. Wise, 1984. "Air Pollution and Lost Work," NBER Working Papers 1263, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Kenneth Y. Chay & Michael Greenstone, 2003. "The Impact of Air Pollution on Infant Mortality: Evidence from Geographic Variation in Pollution Shocks Induced by a Recession," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1121-1167.
  13. Janet Currie & Matthew Neidell, 2004. "Air Pollution and Infant Health: What Can We Learn From California's Recent Experience," NBER Working Papers 10251, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Joshua Graff Zivin & Matthew Neidell, 2014. "Temperature and the Allocation of Time: Implications for Climate Change," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(1), pages 1-26.
  15. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-444, June.
  16. Shi Lan, 2010. "Incentive Effect of Piece-Rate Contracts: Evidence from Two Small Field Experiments," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-34, July.
  17. International Labour Office., 2011. "Global employment trends 2011 : the challenge of a jobs recovery," Global Employment Trends Reports 994619083402676, International Labour Office, Economic and Labour Market Analysis Department.
  18. Rema Hanna & Paulina Oliva, 2011. "The Effect of Pollution on Labor Supply: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Mexico City," CID Working Papers 225, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
  19. Harry J. Paarsch & Bruce S. Shearer, 1999. "The Response of Worker Effort to Piece Rates: Evidence from the British Columbia Tree-Planting Industry," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(4), pages 643-667.
  20. Matthew Neidell, 2009. "Information, Avoidance Behavior, and Health: The Effect of Ozone on Asthma Hospitalizations," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(2).
  21. Hong H. & Chernozhukov V., 2002. "Three-Step Censored Quantile Regression and Extramarital Affairs," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 97, pages 872-882, September.
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