Division of Social Science
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Clear Water Bay
Institutional Affiliation: Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|August 2019||The Unintended Impacts of Agricultural Fires: Human Capital in China|
with Joshua S. Graff Zivin, Yingquan Song, Qu Tang, Peng Zhang: w26205
The practice of burning agricultural waste is ubiquitous around the world, yet the external human capital costs from those fires have been underexplored. Using data from the National College Entrance Examination (NCEE) and agricultural fires detected by high-resolution satellites in China during 2005 to 2011, this paper investigates the impacts of fires on cognitive performance. To address the endogeneity of agricultural fires, we differentiate upwind fires from downwind fires. We find that a one-standard-deviation increase in the difference between upwind and downwind fires during the exam decreases the total exam score by 1.42 percent of a standard deviation (or 0.6 point), and further decreases the probability of getting into first-tier universities by 0.51 percent of a standard deviati...