"The Persistent Effects of Early-Life Exposure to Air Pollution: Evidence from Indonesia Forest Fires"
Abstract: We analyze the effects of early life exposure to air pollution in a developing country on children's human capital outcomes across the life cycle. To this end, we exploit the geographical variation of Indonesia's forest fires during the El Nino weather phenomenon in 1997 and cohort variation in exposure as a natural experiment. Children affected by air pollution in utero and in their early years have worse health outcomes but do not suffer significant effects in cognitive function relative to children not exposed to this shock. While the negative effects on the children's health persist, we find no differential effects by socio-economic characteristics, thus suggesting that the adverse health effects of air pollution are not mitigated by socio-economic status.