Cleaner Air Equals More Productivity

It is often thought that environmental regulations are just burdensome to agriculture and other industries. Here is an interesting report to the contrary.  The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) published a report today entitled The Impact of Ozone Pollution on Worker Productivity by Joshua S. Graff Zivin and Matthew J. Neidell that showed ozone levels in the atmosphere affect the productivity of agricultural workers. In California, the researchers used agricultural productivity data along with environmental conditions monitoring information and looked at the relationship.  They discovered that even at levels well below government air quality standards, ozone is having a severe effect on worker productivity in the field. They surmised that even with a 10 ppb (parts per billion) reduction in the ozone standard would translate into an increase of 4.2% worker productivity and annual cost savings of approximately $1.1 billion in labor expenditures.  11.8% of the US labor force work in outdoor conditions and could benefit from stricter standards.  This is a fascinating case of how regulating air quality can not only improve quality of life, but also the bottom line of business.  If you would like to read the full report please click on this link http://papers.nber.org/papers/W17038

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