Can a low emission zone improve academic performance?
WZB Talk by Manuel Valdés - Online Event
In late 2018, the local government of Madrid implemented a low emission zone (LEZ) in the central district of the city. Although the primary goal of the policy was to enhance air quality, it might also have implications for other related outcomes. For instance, extensive research has documented the detrimental effect of polluted air on academic performance. Consequently, if Madrid’s LEZ was successful in reducing traffic-related emissions, we might observe an improvement in academic performance among students schooled in the LEZ area.
Using a difference-in-differences design, we first demonstrate the policy's success in improving air quality over the four years following its implementation. Secondly, we document that the EvAU results (high-stakes examinations for university admittance) of the schools within the LEZ area improved 0,17SD in that period, a crucial advantage for entering the most competitive university degrees. Importantly, the effect is larger the further away from the implementation date or, in other words, the longer the exposure to cleaner air. In conclussion, our work provides robust causal evidence of the positive externalities on educational outcomes of an effective low emission zone.
Manuel T. Valdés is a Juan de la Cierva postdoc researcher from the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED), Madrid.
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