Pollution and Human Capital: New Evidence from China

Xi Chen
Assistant Professor of Public Health (Health Policy) and in the Institute for Social and Policy Studies, Yale University
Affiliated Faculty, Department of Economics, Yale University
PhD in Applied Economics, Cornell University (2012)
Abstract: While there has been large economics literature evaluating the health cost of air pollution, less is known about its impact on a wider spectrum of human capital measures, including the “black box” of intrauterine growth, mental well-being, hedonic and evaluative happiness, and cognitive abilities. This seminar will present some of our recent attempts to fill this gap. Our results suggest that the gains from improving air quality can be much underestimated by a narrow focus on health impacts. We also provide WTP estimates to inform policies to subsidize vulnerable people who cannot afford better air quality or have little information about its harmful effects, which may have potential to reduce socioeconomic disparities.


  • Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management
  • Cornell Institute for China Economic Research (CICER)