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Air Pollution and the Productivity of High-Skill Labor: Evidence from Court Hearings

Referierte Aufsätze Web of Science

Luis Sarmiento

In: The Scandinavian Journal of Economics 124 (2022), 1, S. 301-332


Air pollution’s influence 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 nitrogen dioxides and particulate matter decrease judicial workers’ productivity; increasing particulate matter by ten units raises hearings length by 6.7%. Back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest that if particulate matter had been ten units lower, the sample’s judicial system would have gained 81,712 minutes or roughly 56 workdays between 2015 and 2017.