Air pollution and agricultural productivity in a developing country

Crawford School of Public Policy | Arndt-Corden Department of Economics

Event details

ACDE Seminar

Date & time

Tuesday 14 May 2024


Seminar Room 7 JG Crawford Building and Online Zoom


Josh Merfeld, KDI School of Public Policy and Management and IZA

I document negative externalities of air pollution in the Indian agricultural sector. Using variation in pollution induced by changes in wind across years, I show that higher levels of pollution lead to decreased agricultural productivity. The negative effects of pollution are larger in areas growing more labor-intensive crops, indicating that the pollution works partly through direct effects on labor productivity. I also show that pollution from coal plants has a larger effect on agricultural productivity than other types of pollution. A back-of-the-envelope calculation indicates that aggregate output losses from pollution are substantial; 2011 total output would have been between 2.3 and 4.5 percent higher if pollution had remained at 2001 levels, depending on the crop.

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