NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Temperature and High-Stakes Cognitive Performance: Evidence from the National College Entrance Examination in China

Joshua S. Graff Zivin, Yingquan Song, Qu Tang, Peng Zhang

NBER Working Paper No. 24821
Issued in July 2018
NBER Program(s):Program on Children, Development Economics Program, Environment and Energy Program, Health Economics Program, Public Economics Program

We provide the first nation-wide estimates on temperature effects on high-stakes cognitive performance in a developing country using data from the National College Entrance Examination (NCEE) in China. The NCEE is one of the most important institutions in China and affects hundreds of millions of families. We find that a one-standard-deviation increase in temperature (3.29° C) decreases the total test score by 1.12% (9.62% of a standard deviation) and decreases the probability of getting into first-tier universities by 1.97% (4.38% of a standard deviation). This suggests that temperature plays an important role in high-stakes cognitive performance and has potentially far-reaching impacts for the careers and lifetime earnings of students.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w24821

 
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