- Pollution and Labor Productivity: Evidence from Chilean Cities
This paper investigates the effects of pollution on labor productivity in Chile. Data on fine particulate matter pollution in Chile were collected and matched to sectoral labor productivity at the city level. The endogeneity between labor productivity and pollution is controlled for by instrumenting on the presence of coal and diesel power plants. The paper finds that pollution reduces labor productivity. A series of robustness checks demonstrate that pollution has a statistically significant effect on productivity when the analysis controls for labor costs and entry rates. The paper provides extensive evidence to support a causal interpretation of this finding. The identification strategy is based on a stylized macroeconomic model. The pollution elasticity of labor productivity is used to demonstrate how the co-benefits of reducing pollution can be incorporated into mitigation policies in a general equilibrium framework.