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KDI 경제정보센터

ENG
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최신자료
Air Pollution, Wildfire Smoke, and Worker Health
NBER
2024.03.12
Little is known about how pollution impacts worker health and workplace safety. This paper leverages high-frequency, plausibly exogenous variation in wildfire smoke to estimate the impact of pollution on workplace injuries. Our analysis draws on unique data we construct through linking information on smoke plumes and pollution to comprehensive administrative data on workers’ compensation injury claims from Texas. We first document that wildfire smoke increases ambient air pollution―with our estimates indicating that a day of smoke coverage is associated with an average increase in PM₂.? of 18.6%. We find that an additional day of smoke coverage leads to a 2.8% increase in workplace injury claims. Similar percent increases in workplace injuries are found across different types of injuries and workers. However, because of large variation in baseline injury risk, the incidence of these pollution-induced injuries is concentrated among workers in high-risk occupations, and supplemental analysis illustrates potential opportunities for improving the targeting of costly mitigation. Our estimates indicate that pollution―and wildfire smoke in particular―substantially harms worker health, even at pollution levels well below current and proposed regulatory standards. Overall, our findings suggest workers face unique risks from pollution and provide insights for policy aiming to address these risks.