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Allergy Test: Seasonal Allergens and Performance in School

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  • Marcotte, Dave E.

    () (American University)

Abstract

Seasonal pollen allergies affect approximately 1 in 5 school age children. Clinical research has established that these allergies result in large and consistent decrements in cognitive functioning, problem solving ability and speed, focus and energy. However, the impact of seasonal allergies on achievement in schools has received no attention at all from economists. Here, I use data on daily pollen counts merged with school district data to assess whether variation in the airborne pollen that induces seasonal allergies is associated with performance on state reading and math assessments. I find substantial and robust effects: A one standard deviation in ambient pollen levels reduces the percent of 3rd graders passing ELA assessments by between 0.2 and 0.3 standard deviations, and math assessments by between about 0.3 and 0.4 standard deviations. I discuss the empirical limitations as well as policy implications of this reduced-form estimate of pollen levels in a community setting.

Suggested Citation

  • Marcotte, Dave E., 2014. "Allergy Test: Seasonal Allergens and Performance in School," IZA Discussion Papers 8544, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8544
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    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, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 1003-1030.
    2. Joshua Graff Zivin & Matthew Neidell, 2012. "The Impact of Pollution on Worker Productivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(7), pages 3652-3673, December.
    3. Victor Lavy & Avraham Ebenstein & Sefi Roth, 2014. "The Long Run Human Capital and Economic Consequences of High-Stakes Examinations," NBER Working Papers 20647, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Tom Chang & Joshua Graff Zivin & Tal Gross & Matthew Neidell, 2016. "Particulate Pollution and the Productivity of Pear Packers," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 8(3), pages 141-169, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Simon Søbstad Bensnes, 2015. "You sneeze, you lose: The impact of pollen exposure on cognitive performance during high-stakes high school exams," Working Paper Series 16615, Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
    2. Bensnes, Simon Søbstad, 2016. "You sneeze, you lose:," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 1-13.
    3. Marcotte, Dave E., 2017. "Something in the air? Air quality and children's educational outcomes," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 141-151.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    air quality; health; education;

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education

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