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Smog in Our Brains: Gender Differences in the Impact of Exposure to Air Pollution on Cognitive Performance

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  • Chen, Xi
  • Zhang, Xiaobo
  • Zhang, Xin

Abstract

While there is a large body of literature on the negative health effects of air pollution, there is much less written about its effects on cognitive performance for the whole population. This paper studies the effects of contemporaneous and cumulative exposure to air pollution on cognitive performance based on a nationally representative survey in China. Bymerging a longitudinal sample at the individual level with local air-quality data according to the exact dates and counties of interviews, we find that contemporaneous and cumulative exposure to air pollution impedes both verbal and math scores of survey subjects. Interestingly, the negative effect is stronger for men than for women. Specifically, the gender difference is more salient among the old and less educated in both verbal and math tests.

Suggested Citation

  • Chen, Xi & Zhang, Xiaobo & Zhang, Xin, 2017. "Smog in Our Brains: Gender Differences in the Impact of Exposure to Air Pollution on Cognitive Performance," GLO Discussion Paper Series 32, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:32
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    Cited by:

    1. Chen, Xi, 2018. "Smog, Cognition and Real-World Decision Making," GLO Discussion Paper Series 266, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    2. Nguyen, Hung T. & Pham, Mia Hang, 2021. "Air pollution and behavioral biases: Evidence from stock market anomalies," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(C).
    3. Austin, Wes & Heutel, Garth & Kreisman, Daniel, 2019. "School bus emissions, student health and academic performance," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 109-126.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    cognitive performance; air pollution; gender difference;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • 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
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination

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