Brain Drain: The Impact of Air Pollution on Firm Performance
72 Pages Posted: 5 Dec 2019 Last revised: 13 Sep 2021
Date Written: September 9, 2020
Air pollution is a growing hazard to human health. This study examines whether air pollution affects the formation of corporate human capital and thereby firm performance. We find that people exhibit an intention to look for jobs in less polluted areas when air pollution is high in their location. This suggests that individuals arrange their lives at least partially in response to air pollution. Consistent with this hypothesis, we find that the level of skilled executives and employees at a firm drops significantly when information on pollution in the firm’s location is accessible in real time and when the pollution level in the firm’s location increases, especially in locations where air pollution poses greater health concerns. In addition, parallel reductions in firm productivity and value are found and become more salient when firms have a greater dependence on human capital.
Keywords: Air pollution, Brain Drain, Human Capital, Firm Performance, China
JEL Classification: O3, Q5, J3
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