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The Impact of Pollution on Worker Productivity

  • 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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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 102 (2012)
Issue (Month): 7 (December)
Pages: 3652-73

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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. Janet Currie & Matthew Neidell, 2005. "Air Pollution and Infant Health: What Can We Learn from California's Recent Experience?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(3), pages 1003-1030, August.
  2. Phoebe Koundouri & Richard Carson & Céline Nauges, . "Arsenic Mitigation in Bangladesh: A Household Labor Market Approach," DEOS Working Papers 1029, Athens University of Economics and Business.
  3. Harry J. Paarsch & Bruce S. Shearer, 1996. "Piece Rates, Fixed Wages, and Incentive Effects: Statistical Evidence from Payroll Records," CIRANO Working Papers 96s-31, CIRANO.
  4. 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.
  5. Rema Hanna & Paulina Oliva, 2011. "The Effect of Pollution on Labor Supply: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Mexico City," NBER Working Papers 17302, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Imran Rasul & Iwan Barankay & Orana Bandiera, 2005. "Social preferences and the response to incentives: Evidence from personnel data," Natural Field Experiments 00212, The Field Experiments Website.
  7. 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.
  8. Kenneth Y. Chay & Michael Greenstone, 2005. "Does Air Quality Matter? Evidence from the Housing Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(2), pages 376-424, April.
  9. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-44, June.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Bandiera, Oriana & Barankay, Iwan & Rasul, Imran, 2009. "Social Incentives in the Workplace," IZA Discussion Papers 4190, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. 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).
  15. 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.
  16. Kenneth Y. Chay & Michael Greenstone, 1999. "The Impact of Air Pollution on Infant Mortality: Evidence from Geographic Variation in Pollution Shocks Induced by a Recession," NBER Working Papers 7442, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
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