NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Edson R. Severnini

Carnegie Mellon University
4800 Forbes Ave #2114B
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Tel: 510-860-1808

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Institutional Affiliation: Carnegie Mellon University

NBER Working Papers and Publications

October 2018Assortative Matching or Exclusionary Hiring? The Impact of Firm Policies on Racial Wage Differences in Brazil
with François Gerard, Lorenzo Lagos, David Card: w25176
A growing body of research shows that firms' employment and wage-setting policies contribute to wage inequality and pay disparities between groups. We measure the effects of these policies on racial pay differences in Brazil. We find that nonwhites are less likely to work at establishments that pay more to all race groups, a pattern that explains about 20% of the white-nonwhite wage gap for both genders. The pay premiums offered by different employers are also compressed for nonwhites relative to whites, contributing another 5% of the overall gap. We then ask how much of the under-representation of nonwhites at higher-paying workplaces is due to the selective skill mix at these establishments. Using a counterfactual based on the observed skill distribution at each establishment and the non...
May 2018Toxic Truth: Lead and Fertility
with Karen Clay, Margarita Portnykh: w24607
Using U.S county level data on lead in air for 1978-1988 and lead in topsoil in the 2000s, this paper examines the causal impact of lead exposure on a critical human function with societal implications – fertility. Using instrumental variables, we find that reductions in airborne lead between 1978 and 1988 increased fertility rates and that higher lead in topsoil decreased fertility rates in the 2000s. The latter finding is particularly concerning, because it suggests that lead may continue to impair fertility today, both in the United States and in other countries that have significant amounts of lead in topsoil.
April 2016Canary in a Coal Mine: Infant Mortality, Property Values, and Tradeoffs Associated with Mid-20th Century Air Pollution
with Karen Clay, Joshua Lewis: w22155
Pollution is a common byproduct of economic activity. Although policymakers should account for both the benefits and the negative externalities of polluting activities, it is difficult to identify those who are harmed and those who benefit from them. To overcome this challenge, our paper uses a novel dataset on the mid-20th century expansion of the U.S. power grid to study the costs and the benefits of coal-fired electricity generation. The empirical analysis exploits the timing of coal-fired power plant openings and annual variation in plant-level coal consumption from 1938 to 1962, when emissions were virtually unregulated. Pollution from the burning of coal for electricity generation is shown to have quantitatively important and nonlinear effects on county-level infant mortality rates. ...
October 2015Pollution, Infectious Disease, and Mortality: Evidence from the 1918 Spanish Influenza Pandemic
with Karen Clay, Joshua Lewis: w21635
The 1918 Influenza Pandemic killed millions worldwide and hundreds of thousands in the United States. This paper studies the impact of air pollution on pandemic mortality. The analysis combines a panel dataset on infant and all-age mortality with a novel measure of air pollution based on the burning of coal in a large sample of U.S. cities. We estimate that air pollution contributed significantly to pandemic mortality. Cities that used more coal experienced tens of thousands of excess deaths in 1918 relative to cities that used less coal with similar pre-pandemic socioeconomic conditions and baseline health. Factors related to poverty, public health, and the timing of onset also affected pandemic mortality. The findings support recent medical evidence on the link between air pollution and ...

Published: Karen Clay & Joshua Lewis & Edson Severnini, 2018. "Pollution, Infectious Disease, and Mortality: Evidence from the 1918 Spanish Influenza Pandemic," The Journal of Economic History, vol 78(04), pages 1179-1209.

 
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