NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Vivek S. Moorthy

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NBER Working Papers and Publications

April 2020Every Day is Earth Day: Evidence on the Long-term Impact of Environmental Activism
with Daniel M. Hungerman: w26979
We explore the importance of activism in the context of Earth Day. We use variation in weather to study the long-term effects of the original Earth Day on attitudes, environmental outcomes, and children's health. Unusually bad weather in a community on April 22, 1970, is associated 10 to 20 years later with weaker support for the environment, particularly among those who were school-aged in 1970. Bad weather on Earth Day is also associated with higher levels of carbon monoxide in the air and greater risk of congenital abnormalities in infants born in the following decades. These results indicate a long-lasting and localized effect of Earth Day, and show that there can be benefits to voluntary activity that would be impossible to identify until years after the volunteering occurs.
 
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