Heat and Learning

54 Pages Posted: 21 Feb 2019

See all articles by Joshua Goodman

Joshua Goodman

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

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: 2018


We demonstrate that heat inhibits learning and that school air-conditioning mitigates 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 heat has little impact, suggesting heat directly disrupts learning time. New nationwide measures of school air-conditioning imply such infrastructure largely offsets heats effects and passes simple benefit-cost tests. Without air-conditioning, a 1°F hotter school year reduces that years learning by one percent. Hot school days disproportionately impact minority students, accounting for roughly five percent of the racial achievement gap.

Keywords: heat, climate, learning, air conditioning

JEL Classification: I200

Suggested Citation

Goodman, Joshua and Hurwitz, Michael and Park, Jisung and Smith, Jonathan, Heat and Learning (2018). CESifo Working Paper No. 7291. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3338616

Joshua Goodman (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.hks.harvard.edu/about/faculty-staff-directory/joshua-goodman/

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 )

United States

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

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