NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Does Pollution Increase School Absences?

Janet Currie, Eric Hanushek, E. Megan Kahn, Matthew Neidell, Steven Rivkin

NBER Working Paper No. 13252
Issued in July 2007
NBER Program(s):   CH   ED   EEE   HC   HE

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.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w13252

Published: Janet Currie & Eric A Hanushek & E. Megan Kahn & Matthew Neidell & Steven G Rivkin, 2009. "Does Pollution Increase School Absences?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(4), pages 682-694, 02. citation courtesy of

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