Air pollution cuts worker productivity
We point out that cleaner air can improve the quality of a firm’s work force, a key input to production.”“More broadly, our research looks beyond the mortality impact of air pollution on vulnerable members of the population, such as the elderly and infants,” says Salvo.
“We typically think that firms benefit from lax pollution regulations, by saving on emission control equipment and the like.
“Pollution regulations are often considered taxing by managers, perceived to hurt their business interests, and they often lobby policymakers against these controls.
Here, we document an adverse effect on the productivity of their work force.”Salvo adds: “Pollution regulations are often considered taxing by managers, perceived to hurt their business interests, and they often lobby policymakers against these controls.
This shows that there are also short-run (though not immediate) adverse consequences for factory output/production that seem to be linked to the effects of the air pollution on the employees at the two textiles firms in China that are studied.”Although the adverse effects are modest (at one per cent), they are statistically significant, says White.