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

51 Pages Posted: 5 May 2020

See all articles by Felix Holub

Felix Holub

University of Mannheim - Department of Economics

Laura Hospido

Banco de España - Research Department

Ulrich J. Wagner

University of Mannheim - Department of Economics

Date Written: April 9, 2020

Abstract

We estimate the causal impact of air pollution on the incidence of sick leaves in a representative panel of employees affiliated to the Spanish social security system. Using over 100 million worker-by-week observations from the period 2005-2014, we estimate the relationship between the share of days an individual is on sick leave in a given week and exposure to particulate matter (PM10) at the place of residence, controlling for weather, individual effects, and a wide range of time-by-location controls. We exploit quasi-experimental variation in PM10 that is due to Sahara dust advection in order to instrument for local PM10 concentrations. We find that particulate matter increases sick leaves in a statistically and economically significant fashion. The effect of pollution on sick leaves varies with respect to various worker and job characteristics. It is stronger for workers with pre-existing medical conditions, and weaker for workers with low job security.

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 (April 9, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3572565 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3572565

Felix Holub

University of Mannheim - Department of Economics ( email )

D-68131 Mannheim
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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