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Air pollution and the productivity of high‐skill labor: evidence from court hearings

Luis Sarmiento

Scandinavian Journal of Economics, 2022, vol. 124, issue 1, 301-332

Abstract: The influence of air pollution on cognitive productivity is a highly relevant and not fully understood economic issue. This study provides evidence of an adverse effect of exposure on the productivity of Mexican judicial workers. The empirical strategy approximates productivity with the length of the hearing and infers causality through instrumental variable panel models. Results show that air pollution decreases the productivity of judicial workers. For instance, increasing particulate matter by 10 units raises the length of hearings by 6.7 percent. Back‐of‐the‐envelope calculations suggest that if particulate matter had been ten units lower, the sample of courthouses would have gained 81,712 minutes or roughly 56 work‐days between 2015 and 2017.

Date: 2022
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Scandinavian Journal of Economics is currently edited by Richard Friberg, Matti Liski and Kjetil Storesletten

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