Thursday, August 02, 2007

Does Pollution Increase School Absences?

A "must read" paper.

My continuing gripe is that US data are so much better than we have in Europe otherwise this is the sort of study that we would like to do. Anyone who has equivalent UK or EU data should drop us a line.

Does Pollution Increase School Absences?
Janet Currie, Eric Hanushek, E. Megan Kahn, Matthew Neidell, Steven Rivkin


We examine the effect of air pollution on school absences using unique administrative data for elementary and middle school children in the 39 largest school districts in Texas. These data are merged with information from monitors maintained by the Environmental Protection Agency. To control for potentially confounding factors, we adopt a difference-in-difference-in differences strategy, and control for persistent characteristics of schools, years, and attendance periods in order to focus on variations in pollution within school-year-attendance period cells. We find that high levels of carbon monoxide (CO) significantly increase absences, even when they are below federal air quality standards.

H/T: Borjas Blog

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