NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Pollution and Human Capital Migration: Evidence from Corporate Executives

Ross Levine, Chen Lin, Zigan Wang

NBER Working Paper No. 24389
Issued in March 2018, Revised in January 2020
NBER Program(s):Corporate Finance, Environment and Energy Economics

We study the impact of pollution on the migration of high human capital employees. We link data on the opening of toxic-emitting plants with the career paths of executives at S&P 1500 firms. We discover that toxic-emitting plant openings increase executive departures from neighboring firms with adverse effects on stock prices. The results: are larger when polluting plants and firms are geographically closer, hold only for executives physically-based at treated firms, hold only for the opening of polluting plants, do not reflect other local factors or prior stock price performance, and are larger among executives with more general human capital.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w24389

 
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