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Conference Papers Year : 2016

Air pollution and cognitive performances


The adverse health impacts of air pollution have been subject of much research and provide the usual rationale for policy interventions in this area. It is only recently being recognized that polluted air might also imply direct economic costs by reducing labor productivity. Recent studies show that that short-term exposure to ozone (O3) and particulate matter (PM2:5) signi cantly reduces the daily productivity of unskilled workers engaged in physical work (fruit picking and packing). However, most work - and in particular most high value work - in a modern economy is based on mental-dexterity, often with little or no physical dimension (e.g. lawyers, administrators, teachers, nanciers, computer programmers). Thus, there is a strong interest in studying the impact of pollution on cognitive performances. We take advantage of the design of the US HRS survey (respondents are interviewed every two years over 12 years) to study this relationship. We nd that exposure to PM2:5 at the WHO recommended daily pollution limit reduces performances by 2.5%. When we focus on respondents living in low value houses on highly polluted day this e ect even climbs to 12%, suggesting that air pollution might even strenghen economic inequality.
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hal-01605834 , version 1 (02-10-2017)


  • HAL Id : hal-01605834 , version 1
  • PRODINRA : 395772


Alexandre Sauquet, Anthony Heyes. Air pollution and cognitive performances. Workshop Environmental and Natural Resources Conservation :Theoretical and Empirical Issue, Nov 2016, Montpeliier, France. ⟨hal-01605834⟩
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