Indoor Air Quality and Academic Performance

37 Pages Posted: 15 Oct 2013 Last revised: 29 Oct 2013

See all articles by Tess Stafford

Tess Stafford

UNSW Australia Business School, School of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: October 29, 2013


I examine the effect of school indoor air quality (IAQ) on academic outcomes. I utilize a quasi-natural experiment, in which IAQ-renovations were completed at virtually every school in a single Texas school district at different points in time, combined with a panel of student-level data to control for many confounding factors and thereby uncover the causal effect of IAQ-renovations on academic outcomes. Results indicate that performance on standardized tests significantly improves while attendance is unresponsive to improvements in IAQ. Rough calculations suggest that IAQ-renovations may be a more cost-effective way to improve standardized test scores than class size reductions.

Keywords: indoor air quality, school renovations, academic performance

JEL Classification: I21, Q53

Suggested Citation

Stafford, Tess, Indoor Air Quality and Academic Performance (October 29, 2013). UNSW Australian School of Business Research Paper No. 2013-25. Available at SSRN: or

Tess Stafford (Contact Author)

UNSW Australia Business School, School of Economics ( email )

High Street
Sydney, NSW 2052

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