The Long-Term Effect of Air Pollution on Human Cognition: Evidence from China

64 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2021 Last revised: 24 Aug 2021

See all articles by Lanlin Ding

Lanlin Ding

Xi'an Jiaotong University (XJTU)

Maoyong Fan

Ball State University - Department of Economics

Peng Nie

Xi'an Jiaotong University

Date Written: August 24, 2021

Abstract

We investigate the long-term causal impact of PM2.5 on cognition ability among middle-aged and older adults in China. Using a regression discontinuity design we find that a 10-μg/m3 increase in long-term PM2.5 exposure reduces overall cognitive ability score by 0.7 standard deviation (SD). The results are robust to a series of robustness checks and economically significant. Our back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest that one-SD increase in PM2.5 is linked to an annual economic loss of $23.9 billion due to increased medical expenditures treating mental illness, and reducing PM2.5 to the WHO standard would save roughly $34.7 billion annually.

Keywords: Long-term exposure, Fine particulate matter, Cognitive ability, Regression discontinuity design, Huai River Policy

JEL Classification: I15, I18, Q48, Q53

Suggested Citation

Ding, Lanlin and Fan, Maoyong and Nie, Peng, The Long-Term Effect of Air Pollution on Human Cognition: Evidence from China (August 24, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3792594 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3792594

Lanlin Ding

Xi'an Jiaotong University (XJTU)

26 Xianning W Rd.
Xi'an Jiao Tong University
Xi'an, Shaanxi 710049
China

Maoyong Fan

Ball State University - Department of Economics ( email )

Whitinger Business Building, room 201
2000 W. University Ave.
Muncie, IN 47306-0340
United States
765-285-5741 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/maoyongfan/home

Peng Nie (Contact Author)

Xi'an Jiaotong University ( email )

No. 74 Yanta West Road
Xi'an, 710061
China

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