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Pollution, Ability, and Gender-Specific Responses to Shocks

Author

Listed:
  • Teresa Molina

    (University of Hawaii at Manoa Department of Economics)

Abstract

This paper explores how labor market conditions drive gender differences in the human capital decisions of men and women, focusing on how their schooling decisions respond to an exogenous change in cognitive ability. Using data from Mexico, I begin by documenting that in utero exposure to air pollution leads to lower cognitive ability in adulthood for both men and women. I then explore how male and female schooling decisions respond differentially to this cognitive shock: for women only, pollution exposure leads to reduced educational attainment and income. I show that two labor market features are fully responsible for this gender difference: (1) women sort into white-collar occupations at higher rates, and (2) schooling and ability are more complementary in white-collar than blue-collar occupations.

Suggested Citation

  • Teresa Molina, 2019. "Pollution, Ability, and Gender-Specific Responses to Shocks," CINCH Working Paper Series 1905, Universitaet Duisburg-Essen, Competent in Competition and Health.
  • Handle: RePEc:duh:wpaper:1905
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    File URL: https://cinch.uni-due.de/fileadmin/content/research/workingpaper/cinch-WP-2019-05.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2019
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    gender; occupational choice; early life; pollution; education; Mexico;

    JEL classification:

    • I26 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Returns to Education
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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