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Heat and Learning

Joshua Goodman (), Michael Hurwitz, Jisung Park and Jonathan Smith
Additional contact information
Michael Hurwitz: College Board
Jisung Park: UCLA
Jonathan Smith: GA State U

Working Paper Series from Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government

Abstract: We provide the first evidence that cumulative heat exposure inhibits cognitive skill development and that school air conditioning can mitigate this effect. Student fixed effects models using 10 million PSAT-takers show that hotter school days in the year prior to the test reduce learning, with extreme heat being particularly damaging and larger effects for low income and minority students. Weekend and summer heat has little impact and the effect is not explained by pollution or local economic shocks, suggesting heat directly reduces the productivity of learning inputs. New data providing the first measures of school level air conditioning penetration across the US suggest such infrastructure almost entirely offsets these effects. Without air conditioning, each 1*F increase in school year temperature reduces the amount learned that year by one percent. Our estimates imply that the benefits of school air conditioning likely outweigh the costs in most of the US, particularly given future predicted climate change.

New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ene, nep-env and nep-ure
Date: 2018-05
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https://research.hks.harvard.edu/publications/getFile.aspx?Id=1663

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Working Paper: Heat and Learning (2018) Downloads
Working Paper: Heat and Learning (2018) Downloads
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:ecl:harjfk:rwp18-014

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