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

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