Urban Air Pollution and Sick Leaves: Evidence from Social Security Data

72 Pages Posted: 5 May 2020 Last revised: 21 Aug 2021

See all articles by Felix Holub

Felix Holub

Goethe University Frankfurt

Laura Hospido

Banco de España - Research Department

Ulrich J. Wagner

University of Mannheim - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: August 20, 2021

Abstract

We estimate the impact of air pollution on labor supply among workers affiliated to Spain’s universal sickness-leave insurance. We find that a 10% reduction in pollution reduces sick leaves by 0.8% of the mean. This effect is larger among workers with pre-existing medical conditions. Our estimates imply that improvements in urban air quality between 2005 and 2014 reduced worker absence by 5.6 million days, saving €0.5 billion in foregone production. We discuss the ramifications of absenteeism and presenteeism when using sick leaves as an outcome for valuing air quality and gauge the impact of such behaviors on our results.

Keywords: air pollution, health, sickness insurance, labor supply

JEL Classification: I12, I13, Q51, Q53

Suggested Citation

Holub, Felix and Hospido, Laura and Wagner, Ulrich J., Urban Air Pollution and Sick Leaves: Evidence from Social Security Data (August 20, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3572565 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3572565

Felix Holub

Goethe University Frankfurt ( email )

House of Finance
Theodor-W.-Adorno-Platz 3
Frankfurt, Hesse 60629
Germany

Laura Hospido

Banco de España - Research Department ( email )

Alcala 48
Madrid, 28014
Spain
+34 913385625 (Phone)
+34 913385678 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.laurahospido.com/

Ulrich J. Wagner (Contact Author)

University of Mannheim - Department of Economics ( email )

D-68131 Mannheim
Germany

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