Particulate Pollution and the Productivity of Pear Packers
- (pp. 141-69)
AbstractWe study the effect of outdoor air pollution on the productivity of indoor workers at a pear-packing factory. Increases in fine particulate matter (PM2.5), a pollutant that readily penetrates indoors, leads to significant decreases in productivity, with effects arising at levels below air quality standards. In contrast, pollutants that do not travel indoors, such as ozone, have little, if any, effect on productivity. This effect of outdoor pollution on indoor worker productivity suggests an overlooked consequence of pollution. Back-of-the envelope calculations suggest the labor savings from nationwide reductions in PM2.5 generated a sizable fraction of total welfare benefits.
CitationChang, Tom, Joshua Graff Zivin, Tal Gross, and Matthew Neidell. 2016. "Particulate Pollution and the Productivity of Pear Packers." American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 8 (3): 141-69. DOI: 10.1257/pol.20150085
- D24 Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
- J24 Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
- L66 Food; Beverages; Cosmetics; Tobacco; Wine and Spirits
- Q13 Agricultural Markets and Marketing; Cooperatives; Agribusiness
- Q51 Valuation of Environmental Effects
- Q53 Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
What do we learn?