Air Quality and Error Quantity: Pollution and Performance in a High-Skilled, Quality-Focused Occupation

40 Pages Posted: 3 Nov 2015 Last revised: 12 Dec 2017

See all articles by James Archsmith

James Archsmith

University of Maryland, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics

Anthony Heyes

University of Ottawa - Department of Economics

Soodeh Saberian

University of Ottawa - Department of Economics

Date Written: December 11, 2017

Abstract

We provide the first evidence that short-term exposure to air pollution affects the work performance of a group of highly-skilled, quality-focused employees. We repeatedly observe the decision-making of individual professional baseball umpires, quasi-randomly assigned to varying air quality across time and space. Unique characteristics of this setting combined with high-frequency data disentangle effects of multiple pollutants and identify previously under-explored acute effects. We find a 1 ppm increase in 3-hour CO causes an 11.5% increase in the propensity of umpires to make incorrect calls and a 10 µg/m3 increase in 12-hour PM2.5 causes a 2.6% increase. We control carefully for a variety of potential confounders and results are supported by robustness and falsification checks. Our estimates imply a 3% reduction in productive output is associated with a change in CO concentrations equivalent to moving from the 25th to the 75th percentile of the CO-distribution in many of the largest US cities.

Keywords: Air quality, Labor productivity, Cognition

JEL Classification: J24, Q52, Q53

Suggested Citation

Archsmith, James and Heyes, Anthony and Saberian, Soodeh, Air Quality and Error Quantity: Pollution and Performance in a High-Skilled, Quality-Focused Occupation (December 11, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2683656 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2683656

James Archsmith (Contact Author)

University of Maryland, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics ( email )

College Park
College Park, MD 20742
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://econjim.com

Anthony Heyes

University of Ottawa - Department of Economics ( email )

Social Sciences Building Room 9005
Ottawa, Ontario K1N 6N5
Canada

Soodeh Saberian

University of Ottawa - Department of Economics

Social Sciences Building Room 9005
Ottawa, Ontario K1N 6N5
Canada

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
153
Abstract Views
873
rank
196,609
PlumX Metrics