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Your Environment. Your Health.

Does pollution increase school absences?

Environmental Health Economic Analysis Annotated Bibliography


Research article Cost analysis (CA)
Currie J, Hanushek EA, Kahn EM, Neidell M, and Rivkin SG
The Review of Economics and Statistics
The authors examined the effects of carbon monoxide (CO), ozone, and particulate matter concentrations on school absences from 1996-2001 in 39 of the largest school districts in Texas. They found that high CO levels, even when below regulatory thresholds set by the EPA, significantly increased absences. In highly polluted areas, reductions in the number of days with high CO concentrations reduced absences by 0.8 percentage points. Results suggest that lowering CO levels may yield economically significant health benefits.
School children (1st through 8th grade)

Health Outcomes

  • Not available

Environmental Agents

List of Environmental Agents:

  • Air pollutants (carbon monoxide (CO)), Ozone (O3), Particulate matter (PM10/coarse))

Source of Environmental Agents: (Not available)

Economic Evaluation / Methods and Source


  • Cost analysis (CA)

Cost Measured:

  • Missed school days

Potential Cost Measures: (Not available)

Benefits Measures: (Not available)

Potential Benefits: (Not available)


  • 39 of the largest school districts in Texas

Models Used: (Not available)

Methods Used:

  • The authors examined the effects of air pollution on school absences in 39 of the largest school districts in Texas. The authors — 1) merged administrative school-level panel data with pollution monitor data; 2) employed in a difference-in-difference-in differences (DDD) which held school, year, and attendance period characteristics constant and also controlled for precipitation and temperature; and 3) compared DDD results to ordinary least squares estimates.

Sources Used:

  • School absence data for 1996-2001 (The Texas Schools Project, University of Texas, Dallas); air pollution data from Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) monitors; additional sources cited in publication

Economic Evaluation / Methods and Source


  • Currie J, Hanushek EA, Kahn EM, Neidell M, and Rivkin SG. 2009. Does pollution increase school absences?. The Review of Economics and Statistics.
  • Pubmed: (Not available)
  • DOI

NIEHS Funding: (Not available)

Other Funding: (Not available)

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