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The Effect of Pollution and Heat on High Skill Public Sector Worker Productivity in China


  • Matthew E. Kahn
  • Pei Li


The quality of governance depends on public sector worker productivity. We use micro data from China to document that judges are less productive on polluted days. Building on the insights of Alchian and Kessel (1962), we discuss the role of organization design and the incentives of public versus for profit organizations in designing a workplace that reduces the productivity costs of local disamenities. We find that the public sector productivity elasticities are larger than published estimates of the private sector productivity elasticities with respect to pollution.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthew E. Kahn & Pei Li, 2019. "The Effect of Pollution and Heat on High Skill Public Sector Worker Productivity in China," NBER Working Papers 25594, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:25594
    Note: EEE PE PR

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    Cited by:

    1. Alexander, Diane & Schwandt, Hannes, 2019. "The Impact of Car Pollution on Infant and Child Health: Evidence from Emissions Cheating," CEPR Discussion Papers 13805, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. K√ľnn, Steffen & Palacios, Juan & Pestel, Nico, 2019. "Indoor Air Quality and Cognitive Performance," IZA Discussion Papers 12632, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling

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