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The impact of air pollution on labour productivity in France

Author

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  • Clara Kögel

    (Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne – Centre d'Économie de la Sorbonne, Organisation de Coopération et de Développement Économiques (OCDE) – Directorate for Science, Technology and Industry (STI))

Abstract

This paper investigates the effect of air pollution on labour productivity in French establishments in both manufacturing and non-financial market services sectors from 2001 to 2018. An instrumental variable approach based on planetary boundary layer height and wind speed allows identifying the causal effect of air pollution on labour productivity. The finding shows that a 10% increase in fine particulate matter leads, on average, to a 1.5% decrease in labour productivity, controlling for firm-specific characteristics and other confounding factors. The analysis also considers different dimensions of heterogeneity driving this adverse effect. The negative impact of pollution is mainly driven by service-intensive firms and sectors with a high share of highly skilled workers. This finding is in line with the expectation that air pollution affects cognitive skills, concentration, headache, and fatigue in non-routine cognitive tasks. Compared to the marginal abatement cost of PM 2.5 reductions by the Air Quality Directive 2008/50/EC, the estimated gains only from the labour productivity channel could largely offset the abatement cost. All in all, these estimates suggest that the negative impact of air pollution is much larger than previously documented in the literature.

Suggested Citation

  • Clara Kögel, 2022. "The impact of air pollution on labour productivity in France," Working Papers 2022.10, FAERE - French Association of Environmental and Resource Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:fae:wpaper:2022.10
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Air pollution; Labour productivity; Planetary boundary layer height;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
    • Q51 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Valuation of Environmental Effects
    • Q52 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Pollution Control Adoption and Costs; Distributional Effects; Employment Effects

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