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Air Pollution, Student Health, and School Absences: Evidence from China

Siyu Chen, Chongshan Guo and Xinfei Huang

Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 2018, vol. 92, issue C, 465-497

Abstract: Little is known about the impact of air pollution on school children in developing countries. This paper aims to fill this gap by quantifying the causal effects of air pollution on the health status and the school attendance of the Chinese students. We relate the arguably exogenous daily variation in air pollution-instrumented by the occurrence of temperature inversion-with student illnesses and absences from more than 3000 schools in Guangzhou City. We find a sizable deleterious effect of air pollution on school attendance through the health channel. The impact persists for at least four days and displays a monotonically increasing pattern. Notably, this harmful effect is non-negligible even when pollution levels are below the official standards for air quality in China, suggesting that the current ambient air quality standards in China are not low enough to protect students.

Keywords: Air pollution; Student health; School absences; China; Air quality standards (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I18 I24 Q51 Q53 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jeem.2018.10.002

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Journal of Environmental Economics and Management is currently edited by M.A. Cole, A. Lange, D.J. Phaneuf, D. Popp, M.J. Roberts, M.D. Smith, C. Timmins, Q. Weninger and A.J. Yates

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