Air Pollution, Student Health, and School Absences: Evidence from China
68 Pages Posted: 30 Oct 2018
Date Written: October 8, 2018
Little is known about the impact of air pollution on school children in developing countries. This paper aims to fill this gap by quantifying the causal effect of air pollution on the health status and the school attendance of the Chinese students. We relate the arguably exogenous daily variation in air pollution-instrumented by the occurrence of temperature inversion-with student illnesses and absences from more than 3,000 schools in Guangzhou City. We find a sizable deleterious effect of air pollution on school attendance through the health channel. The impact persists for at least four days and displays a monotonically increasing pattern. Notably, this harmful effect is non-negligible even when pollution levels are below the official standard for air quality in China, suggesting that the current ambient air quality standards in China are not low enough to protect students.
Keywords: Air Pollution, Student Health, School Absences, China, Air Quality Standards
JEL Classification: I18, I24, Q51, Q53
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation