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Air pollution and noncognitive traits among Chinese adolescents

Author

Listed:
  • Mengyao Li
  • Susana Ferreira
  • Travis A. Smith
  • Xin Zhang

Abstract

Most residents in developing countries live under poor air quality. The adverse effects of air pollution on cardiovascular and respiratory health are well documented. More recently, it has been shown that air pollution adversely affects areas of the central nervous system regulating noncognitive traits. Because the developing brain is particularly vulnerable, this study focuses on adolescents. We match air pollution data from monitoring stations in China to repeated measures of noncognitive traits using panel data. In general, poorer contemporaneous air quality, rather than poorer past air quality, negatively affects adolescent noncognitive traits. Specifically, an increase in the Air Pollution Index by 15 points—the average daily fluctuation—leads to a 5.5% increase in psychological distress, 0.9% decrease in self‐esteem, 3.2% reduction in self‐satisfaction, and 0.9% decrease in confidence in the future. No such effects are found among adults.

Suggested Citation

  • Mengyao Li & Susana Ferreira & Travis A. Smith & Xin Zhang, 2021. "Air pollution and noncognitive traits among Chinese adolescents," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 30(2), pages 478-488, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:30:y:2021:i:2:p:478-488
    DOI: 10.1002/hec.4193
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    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Chris Sampson’s journal round-up for 8th March 2021
      by Chris Sampson in The Academic Health Economists' Blog on 2021-03-08 12:00:01

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