Heat and Learning

60 Pages Posted: 30 May 2018 Last revised: 29 Apr 2022

See all articles by Joshua Goodman

Joshua Goodman

Brandeis University - Department of Economics

Michael Hurwitz

College Board

Jisung Park

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Luskin School of Public Affairs

Jonathan Smith

Georgia State University

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 2018

Abstract

We demonstrate that heat inhibits learning and that school air-conditioning may mitigate this effect. Student fixed effects models using 10 million PSAT-retakers show hotter school days in years before the test reduce scores, with extreme heat being particularly damaging. Weekend and summer temperature has little impact, suggesting heat directly disrupts learning time. New nationwide, school-level measures of air-conditioning penetration suggest patterns consistent with such infrastructure largely offsetting heat’s effects. Without air-conditioning, a 1°F hotter school year reduces that year’s learning by one percent. Hot school days disproportionately impact minority students, accounting for roughly five percent of the racial achievement gap.

Suggested Citation

Goodman, Joshua and Hurwitz, Michael and Park, Jisung and Smith, Jonathan, Heat and Learning (May 2018). NBER Working Paper No. w24639, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3185940

Joshua Goodman (Contact Author)

Brandeis University - Department of Economics ( email )

Waltham, MA 02454-9110
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.joshua-goodman.com

Michael Hurwitz

College Board ( email )

1919 M Street NW
Suite 300
Washington, DC 20036
United States

Jisung Park

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Luskin School of Public Affairs ( email )

3250 Public Affairs Building
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1656
United States

Jonathan Smith

Georgia State University ( email )

GA
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/jonathansmithphd/

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