Does Pollution Increase School Absences?
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.
We thank Alfonso Flores-Lagunes, Matthew Kahn, Walter Nicholson, and Jessica Reyes for helpful comments as well as participants at the 2005 AEA meetings and the 2006 SOLE meetings. The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
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