Does Air Pollution Lower Productivity? Evidence from Manufacturing in India. (Job Market Paper)
This paper analyzes how air pollution affects manufacturing productivity in India and the degree to which industries vary in their sensitivity to air pollution. Determining optimal environmental policy is especially challenging when the damages from pollution are varied and difficult to measure. I illustrate the impact of pollution on productivity and output with a model of production where pollution damages inputs and firms may adapt. With an administrative panel of manufacturing firms and comprehensive geospatial data on weather and air quality, I estimate the effect of air pollution on industrial productivity using wind velocity as an instrument for pollution. I find that air pollution substantially lowered productivity among industries with labor intensive technologies, yet it had little average effect across all industries. To understand the sources of heterogeneity in the impact of air pollution on productivity, I extend the model and show that industries' technologies can modify the damages from pollution on inputs to production. I bring the theory to the data and find that a one standard deviation increase in the labor intensity of production led to a 0.6 percentage point more negative impact of pollution on productivity. The estimates imply that regulation abating excess pollution would have raised profits 1.1% among adversely affected industries but only 0.3% on average.
The Impact of Maritime Emissions Standards on Air Quality and Infant Health.
with Michelle Marcus.
The bulk of ship traffic occurs near coastlines and pollution from ship exhaust is a major component of poor air quality on populated US coasts. In this paper, we measure the effect of maritime fuel emissions standards on air quality and infant health.
We employ the predictions of an atmospheric aerosol transport model to form a rigorous scientific prior on the change in air pollution from maritime emissions standards at a given location accounting for the atmospheric dispersion, disposition, and chemical interactions of pollution once emitted. We combine these predictions with administrative data of air quality and births to estimate the policy’s outcomes and to directly compare the ex-post changes in air pollution from the policy with the ex-ante scientific predictions. We find that the introduction of maritime emissions control areas around the US West Coast led to a substantial 49% average fall in sulfur dioxide concentrations as well as a 6.3% fall in fine particulate matter and 5.7% fall in coarse particulate matter. Consistent with the air quality improvements, we find a 2.8% average reduction in the incidence of low infant birth weight due to the policy. While we cannot reject that the ex-ante and ex-post estimates are the same, we estimate that roughly 91% of the intended fine particulate matter improvements were actualized.
Papers and Publications
Terrorism, Geopolitics, and Oil Security: Using Remote Sensing to Estimate Oil Production of the Islamic State.
with Do, Quy-Toan, Jacob N. Shapiro, Christopher D. Elvidge, Mohamed Abdel-Jelil, Daniel P. Ahn, Kimberly Baugh, and Mikhail Zhizhin, and Morgan D. Bazilian. Energy Research & Social Science. 2018.
How Much Oil is the Islamic State Group Producing?: Evidence from Remote Sensing.
with Do, Quy-Toan, Jacob N. Shapiro, Christopher D. Elvidge, Mohamed Abdel-Jelil, Daniel P. Ahn, Kimberly Baugh, and Mikhail Zhizhin. Policy Research Working Paper; No. 8231. World Bank, Washington, DC. 2017.
Understanding the Daesh Economy.
with Jacob N. Shapiro. Perspectives on Terrorism, 9(4). 2015.
Connecting the Red Corridor: Infrastructure Development In Conflict Zones.
with Oliver Vanden Eynde, Austin L. Wright, and Jacob N. Shapiro. International Growth Center Working Paper. 2015.
Informal Trading Networks in West Africa: The Mourides of Senegal/Gambia and the Yoruba of Benin/Nigeria.
with Steve Golub. Chapter 8 in The Informal Sector in Francophone Africa: Firm Size, Productivity, and Institutions, edited by Nancy Benjamin and Ahmadou Aly Mbaye, The World Bank, Washington, DC. 2012.