IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/17004.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Impact of Pollution on Worker Productivity

Author

Listed:
  • Joshua S. Graff Zivin
  • Matthew J. Neidell

Abstract

Environmental protection is typically cast as a tax on the labor market and the economy in general. Since a large body of evidence links pollution with poor health, and health is an important part of human capital, efforts to reduce pollution could plausibly be viewed as an investment in human capital and thus a tool for promoting economic growth. While a handful of studies have documented the impacts of pollution on labor supply, this paper is the first to rigorously assess the less visible but likely more pervasive impacts on worker productivity. In particular, we exploit a novel panel dataset of daily farm worker output as recorded under piece rate contracts merged with data on environmental conditions to relate the plausibly exogenous daily variations in ozone with worker productivity. We find robust evidence that ozone levels well below federal air quality standards have a significant impact on productivity: a 10 ppb decrease in ozone concentrations increases worker productivity by 4.2 percent.

Suggested Citation

  • Joshua S. Graff Zivin & Matthew J. Neidell, 2011. "The Impact of Pollution on Worker Productivity," NBER Working Papers 17004, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17004
    Note: EEE HE LS PR
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w17004.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Hanna, Rema & Oliva, Paulina, 2015. "The effect of pollution on labor supply: Evidence from a natural experiment in Mexico City," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 68-79.
    2. 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.
    3. Paarsch, Harry J & Shearer, Bruce, 2000. "Piece Rates, Fixed Wages, and Incentive Effects: Statistical Evidence from Payroll Records," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 41(1), pages 59-92, February.
    4. Oriana Bandiera & Iwan Barankay & Imran Rasul, 2005. "Social Preferences and the Response to Incentives: Evidence from Personnel Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 917-962.
    5. Richard T. Carson & Phoebe Koundouri & Céline Nauges, 2010. "Arsenic Mitigation in Bangladesh: A Household Labor Market Approach," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 93(2), pages 407-414.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. A. Colin Cameron & Jonah B. Gelbach & Douglas L. Miller, 2011. "Robust Inference With Multiway Clustering," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(2), pages 238-249, April.
    10. Kenneth Y. Chay & Michael Greenstone, 2003. "The Impact of Air Pollution on Infant Mortality: Evidence from Geographic Variation in Pollution Shocks Induced by a Recession," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1121-1167.
    11. 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).
    12. 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.
    13. 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.
    14. Oriana Bandiera & Iwan Barankay & Imran Rasul, 2010. "Social Incentives in the Workplace," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(2), pages 417-458.
    15. International Labour Office., 2011. "Global employment trends 2011 : the challenge of a jobs recovery," Global Employment Trends Reports 994619083402676, International Labour Office, Economic and Labour Market Analysis Department.
    16. H. Spencer Banzhaf & Randall P. Walsh, 2008. "Do People Vote with Their Feet? An Empirical Test of Tiebout," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 843-863, June.
    17. 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.
    18. 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.
    19. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-444, June.
    20. 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.
    21. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Joshua Graff Zivin & Matthew Neidell, 2013. "Environment, Health, and Human Capital," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 51(3), pages 689-730, September.
    2. 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.
    3. Wolfram Schlenker & W. Reed Walker, 2016. "Airports, Air Pollution, and Contemporaneous Health," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 83(2), pages 768-809.
    4. Courtney J. Ward, 2015. "It's an ill wind: The effect of fine particulate air pollution on respiratory hospitalizations," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 48(5), pages 1694-1732, December.
    5. Hanna, Rema & Oliva, Paulina, 2015. "The effect of pollution on labor supply: Evidence from a natural experiment in Mexico City," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 68-79.
    6. Rivera, Nathaly M., 2021. "Air quality warnings and temporary driving bans: Evidence from air pollution, car trips, and mass-transit ridership in Santiago," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 108(C).
    7. Ziebarth, N. R. & Schmitt, M. & Karlsson, M., 2013. "The short-term population health effects of weather and pollution: implications of climate change," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 13/34, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    8. Ross Levine & Chen Lin & Zigan Wang, 2018. "Pollution and Human Capital Migration: Evidence from Corporate Executives," NBER Working Papers 24389, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Clay, Karen & Portnykh, Margarita & Severnini, Edson R., 2018. "Toxic Truth: Lead and Fertility," IZA Discussion Papers 11541, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    10. Andrea La Nauze & Edson R. Severnini, 2021. "Air Pollution and Adult Cognition: Evidence from Brain Training," NBER Working Papers 28785, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Aragón, Fernando M. & Miranda, Juan Jose & Oliva, Paulina, 2017. "Particulate matter and labor supply: The role of caregiving and non-linearities," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 295-309.
    12. Felix Holub & Laura Hospido & Ulrich J. Wagner, 2020. "Urban air pollution and sick leaves: evidence from social security data," Working Papers 2041, Banco de España.
    13. Dolores de la Mata & Carlos Felipe Gaviria Garces, 2019. "Exposure to Pollution and Infant Health: Evidence from Colombia," CINCH Working Paper Series 1902, Universitaet Duisburg-Essen, Competent in Competition and Health.
    14. Alexandra E. Hill & Jesse Burkhardt, 2021. "Peers in the Field: The Role of Ability and Gender in Peer Effects among Agricultural Workers," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 103(3), pages 790-811, May.
    15. Matthew Neidell, 2017. "Air pollution and worker productivity," IZA World of Labor, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), pages 363-363, June.
    16. Deschenes, Olivier & Wang, Huixia & Wang, Si & Zhang, Peng, 2020. "The effect of air pollution on body weight and obesity: Evidence from China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 145(C).
    17. Lichter, Andreas & Pestel, Nico & Sommer, Eric, 2017. "Productivity effects of air pollution: Evidence from professional soccer," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 54-66.
    18. Garth Heutel & Christopher J. Ruhm, 2016. "Air Pollution and Procyclical Mortality," Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(3), pages 667-706.
    19. Nicholas J. Sanders, 2012. "What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Weaker: Prenatal Pollution Exposure and Educational Outcomes," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 47(3), pages 826-850.
    20. Kim, Kijin, 2013. "The Effects of the Clean Air Act on Local Industrial Wages," 6th Annual Midwest Graduate Student Conference on Regional and Applied Economics (CRAE), April 5-6, 2013, Columbus, Ohio 147489, Midwest Graduate Student Conference on Regional and Applied Economics (CRAE), The Ohio State University, Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Lists

    This item is featured on the following reading lists, Wikipedia, or ReplicationWiki pages:
    1. Economic Logic blog

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17004. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.